Acquirers Post Best Performance in Second Quarter Since 2011

Companies that completed acquisitions in the second quarter posted the best performance in two years based on share price returns even as the number of transactions dropped, a study shows.

Deals in the three months through June outperformed the MSCI World Index by 4.1 percentage points, according to the study, dated July 1 and released today by New York-based consulting firm Towers Watson & Co. That’s the best return since the second quarter of 2011, according to the study, conducted by Cass Business School in London.

While a sustained rally in stocks this year buoyed deal returns, with the MSCI World Index up more than 7 percent in the first half, the number of acquisitions declined for the second consecutive quarter to 160, the study shows. A lagging economic recovery has led some executives to remain wary of dealmaking, according to Iain Jones, head of M&A practice in the West for Towers Watson.

“Companies are being cautious while all the economic fundamentals are shaky,” Jones, based in Irvine, California, said in a telephone interview.

Technology deals have been among the best performing this year, with share price returns averaging 9.2 percentage points above the industry index, while financial deals were among the worst performing, the study shows.