• Type: Press release
  • Date: 4/15/2013

Sluggish M&A market in the first quarter 

After impressing last year, the Swiss M&A market has had a sluggish start to 2013. In the first quarter, both the number and volume of mergers and acquisitions fell sharply, with no major deals being struck. With 52 transactions in total worth 3.3 billion US dollars (USD), the figures were the lowest since they were first recorded (2004). Given the amount of negotiations under way on the market, the result is surprising.
With only 52 transactions, the Swiss M&A market values were the lowest during the first quarter of 2013 they had ever been since quarterly M&A data was first recorded (2004). A transaction volume of USD3.3 billion meant that the first quarter of 2013 also lagged well behind the previous quarters in volume terms. As well as a general feeling of caution on the market, this is also due in particular to the lack of any significant high-volume deals. Although major Swiss companies are actively involved in negotiations, they are holding back on striking deals for the moment.

Number and value of deals per quarter

Number and value of deals

USA sees largest acquisition

The largest deal in the first quarter of 2013 was the purchase by the Swiss watch group Swatch of 100% of the shares in Harry Winston for USD1 billion. This acquisition in the luxury goods segment is characteristic of the increase in M&A activity between Switzerland and North America, a trend in evidence since last year. As economic growth and stability tend to be important drivers of M&A activity, confidence in a recovering North American market is also influencing the mergers and acquisitions recorded. The deal between Harry Winston and Swatch, which heads the top-ten table, affirms this trend – despite a weak first quarter of 2013.


Top 10

Busy quarter for Swiss industry

The bulk of Switzerland’s transactions in the first quarter of 2013 came in the industry and consumer goods sectors (25% and 15% respectively). These included, for example, the purchase by machinery manufacturer IMA Industries of 40% of the shares in ILAPAK International S.A., a maker of packaging machines and equipment, as well as Swatch’s acquisition of Harry Winston as mentioned above. The financial sector also saw an upturn in activity in the first quarter compared with the previous year, being responsible for 13% of all transactions. Highlights included the takeover by US asset manager Blackrock of Credit Suisse’s ETF business in a deal worth USD250 million.

Confident outlook for M&A in 2013

As KPMG’s global data indicates, the international markets are also beset by nerves and uncertainty. The global decline in M&A volumes observed in 2012 continued into January of this year. In Switzerland, too, the political and economic developments in the eurozone are dampening the mood on the M&A markets. However, many companies are currently considering strategic changes and are locked in negotiations, although it appears the time is not yet right to strike any deals. The next few months will therefore show us which way the wind is blowing. In view of the current potential for acquisitions, KPMG is expecting several key deals to be agreed in the foreseeable future, with an increase in M&A activities likely within the next nine months.

Can Arikan

Can Arikan

Head of Media Relations

+41 58 249 55 71

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