Investors lose faith, as a result mergers 'called off'

Abdul Milazi

Abdul Milazi

The US sub-prime crisis has put a damper on global mergers and acquisitions, with announced deals of about $750billion for the first quarter of 2008 down 25percent compared to the same period last year.

According to global financial advisory services Ernst & Young, deals were being called off as business confidence dropped, with media reports dominated more by failed deals than those that had succeeded.

The largest of these was the recent cancellation of a planned merger between local cellphone network operator MTN and its Indian counterpart, Reliance Communications, last Friday, which could have led to the formation of a $70billion company.

The second largest was Royal Bafokeng's recent withdrawal of its R8billion bid for a controlling stake in Mutual & Federal.

This was followed by listed property group SA Reit also pulling out of a deal that would have seen it acquire the property interests of Super Group for about R1billion.

Ernst & Young's Dave Thayser said: "In addition to the impact of global factors, local business confidence has been dented by rising inflation, rising interest rates and the electricity crisis."

But he said there was a glimmer of hope as investors from developing economies invested in other emerging markets.

A few examples of such deals were the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's recent acquisition of a 20percent interest in Standard Bank and interest by Oger, the Turkish telecoms company, in Telkom.