Buyers walk away from $11b worth of deals in Q1
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A total of $US6.8bn ($11bn) worth of mergers and acquisitions were withdrawn in Australia in the March quarter, according to data from financial data group Refinitiv.
The number of deals pulled was 21, a 50 per cent increase on the same period last year, and ran from the biggest offers through to small cap agreements.
Real estate accounted for 84.3 per cent of deal value after private equity groups Gaw Capital Partners and Warburg Pincus pulled out of a $1.7bn bid for National Storage in February.
US bidder Public Storage withdrew its $1.83bn bid a month later.
The 10 largest deals to be pulled were:
Before the market tanked from February 20, market analysts were suggesting that private equity was looking at unlisted companies priced between $20m and $200m for deals.
Two months later the field for bargain hunters has been blown open, as companies scrabble for cash in a fearful bear market.
The difference is the playing field has been tilted towards local acquirers, after the government changed foreign investment rules to require that all deals involving foreign-based buyers must be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
Lawyers from Gilbert & Tobin suggest this will benefit cashed up, fast moving Australian acquirers if the FIRB becomes bogged down in applications.