Takeovers are falling apart across the globe, leading to a gloomy late summer for Wall Street bankers as cheap financing dries up.
More than $150 billion of mergers and acquisitions have been scrapped or stalled since the beginning of June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. KKR & Co. confirmed a Bloomberg News scoop that it’s abandoning a $14 billion bid for Australian hospital chain Ramsay Health Care Ltd.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG announced a day earlier it would spin off its $25 billion generics unit after failing to draw attractive private equity bids. Merck & Co.’s talks for $30 billion cancer-drug maker Seagen Inc. have hit a snag over price, while Ardian SAS is shelving a $3 billion sale of Italian health-care software provider Dedalus.
Dislocated financing markets and higher interest rates are making acquisition financing more expensive and harder to raise, said Lars Aagaard, head of Asia Pacific M&A at Barclays Plc.
“More deals are being pulled and auction processes put on hold,” Aagaard said. “Vendors’ price expectations take some time to adjust to the new normal.”
Private equity dealmakers are struggling to get cheap credit for buyouts, as inflation and fears of an economic slowdown rock the debt markets.
Investment banks are nervous about adding more debt to the $80 billion they already hold, while private lenders are pulling back on risk by cutting how much debt they are offering in a single deal.
Several transactions have been canceled due to once-hot parts of the market falling out of favor. In the cyptocurrency industry, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Holdings and a lender backed by the Thai royal family both scrapped acquisitions this month.
The air has also been coming out of the market for special purpose acquisition companies. Grooming startup Manscaped this month terminated a $1 billion deal with a blank-check company that was set to be backed by Channing Tatum. Ticketing engine SeatGeek abandoned a $1.4 billion merger with a SPAC backed by basketball star Kevin Durant.
Then there’s the biggest deal of them all to hit the rocks: Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter Inc., which is subject to a court battle after the billionaire tried to back out.
To be sure, some negotiations could be revived, particularly if market sentiment improves. Ramsay Health said it’s prepared to engage with KKR to see if it can come up with another offer.
Dealmaking may pick up in the fourth quarter and early next year, according to Barclays’ Aagaard, who’s also head of financial sponsors for Asia Pacific. Banks’ appetite to finance new deals may increase as they start offloading some of the risk they hold, he said.