In the first quarter of 2012, there were 669 private equity-backed buyout deals, valued at a total of $46.3bn. This represents a 7% increase in number, but a 20% fall in total value from the previous quarter. The statistics serve as an indication of the increased prominence of small deals, with 62% of deals announced in Q1 2012 valued at less than $100mn, compared to 55% of deals in 2011 valued in this range. Just 8% of deals in the quarter were valued at over $500mn, compared to 17% of deals in 2011.
In terms of sectors, industrials remain the most popular, with around a quarter of the total number of deals allocated to this area. The energy and utilities sector, meanwhile, with the $7.15bn acquisition of El Paso Corporation’s Exploration & Production Company and a $2bn investment in Cheniere Energy, saw 26% of the aggregate value of deals in Q1 2012 – more than any other sector and significantly higher than the 9% witnessed in 2011.
Each region saw varying falls in the aggregate value of deals from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012. Aggregate deal value in North America fell around 17% from $30.4bn in Q4 2011 to $25.3bn in Q1 2012. The aggregate value of European deals fell by 21%, from $16bn to $12.7bn, while transactions in Asia and Rest of World saw a 27% drop in deal value from the previous quarter, to $8.3bn.
The largest deal in the quarter was the $7.15bn purchase of El Paso Corporation’s Exploration & Production Company by Apollo Global Management, Riverstone Holdings, Access Industries and Korea National Oil Corporation. The next largest deal was Advent International and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division’s acquisition of TransUnion, valued at $3bn, while completing the top three was the announcement that Blackstone and Carlyle Group would buy Reliance Infratel Limited for just under $3bn.