SA mergers, acquisitions decline

MERGER and Acquisition activity in South Africa declined by 42percent last year, according to Ernst & Young's annual benchmark survey on M&A activity, released yesterday.

Total deal value dropped from R312billion to R182billion and the number of deals reduced from 580 to 428.

Deal activity has more than halved, both locally and internationally, from record levels in 2007, though the outlook for this year is improving both locally and internationally - despite sellers remaining cautious.

Activity in South Africa came close to bucking the downward international trend since the proposed discussions between Indian telecoms operator Bharti Airtel and South African target MTN alone could have doubled the total local activity by value.

The R169,7billion deal was not consummated, along with several other large proposed deals locally.

The most active acquirer of the year in terms of deal value was in the listed property sector.

Redefine Income Fund bought ApexHi Properties for R12,7billion and Ambit Properties for R2,5billion, creating the second largest listed South African property investment holding company, after Growthpoint Properties.