Middle East M&A values plummet

Published: October 5, 2010

Slight volume increase not enough to halt decline.  

The value of deals targeting companies in the Middle East dropped by 64% quarter-on-quarter during the third quarter, according to research from data company Zephyr.

About US$1.4bn was spent in Q3, down from the US$4.1bn recorded between April and the end June, despite a slight increase in volume. There were 201 transactions in Q3, up 2% on the 197 deals in the second quarter.

There were no transactions in Q3 valued at more than US$1bn, with only three breaking the US$100mn mark. The largest of these was Egypt’s EFG-Hermes taking a 65% stake in Lebanese bank Crédit Libanais for US$542mn.

Not far behind was conglomerate Savola’s US$331mn acquisition of minority stakes in Saudi Arabian sugar refiner and edible oils producer Savola Foods and supermarket operator Al Azizia Panda United.

Private equity activity during this period was scarce, with just two deals recorded. National Net Ventures of Saudi Arabia and Netherlands-registered Sahara International Ventures backed UAE-based marriage website Yebab.com and Saudi Arabian internet service provider Sahara Al-Jazirah respectively. Their values have not been undisclosed.

Banking was the leading sector by volume and value with 64 transactions worth US$617mn, accounting for 32% of the quarter’s volume and 42% of value. In terms of volume, transport took second place with 33 deals although the sector did not feature among the top five in the value table. Deals targeting wholesalers and retailers were in second place with US$375mn.