Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Deal Scrapheap Starts to Fill Up As Mega-Mergers Fall Apart

The deal junkyard is getting crowded.

Of the $3.2 trillion in deals announced in the past eight months, about nine percent -- worth $294 billion -- have already fallen apart, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That's close to double the amount in the same period a year earlier, despite overall deal volumes only ticking up about 23 percent. 

Much of that is due to the collapse of the biggest pharmaceutical deal of all time (see below), but several other multi-billion dollar transactions have also failed to make it over the finish line. We take a look at some of the biggest.


Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Pfizer — Allergan: $160 Billion

The drugmakers walked away from their $160 billion merger earlier this month, after U.S. officials cracked down on deals designed to reap tax savings for the companies involved. 

Had it succeeded, the planned mega-merger would have been the largest-ever deal in the pharmaceutical industry. It would also have allowed Pfizer Inc. to shift its tax address to Ireland, which has a much lower corporate tax rate than the U.S.

Cancelling the deal cost Pfizer about $150 million in termination fees -- and meant financial advisers to the companies missed out on $236 million payday, according to  estimates from consultants Freeman & Co. 

Canadian Pacific — Norfolk Southern: $27 Billion 

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. abandoned its bid to buy Norfolk Southern Corp. after five months of public wrangling over the deal. Valued at $27 billion, it would have been the biggest railroad deal since regulators changed the rules on mergers for the industry in 2001.

Canadian Pacific investor Pershing Square Capital Management  -- led by Bill Ackman -- was keen on a combination but Norfolk said its offer was inadequate, and unlikely to pass regulatory scrutiny. 

“We effectively saw a deck stacked against us,''  Canadian Pacific Chief Executive Officer Hunter Harrison  said in a Bloomberg Television interview. 

Vonovia — Deutsche Wohnen: $9 Billion 

German property company Vonovia SE failed to get enough shares to support its $9 billion acquisition of rival Deutsche Wohnen SE. In February, it secured just 30.4 percent of the 50 percent it needed to succeed, and the deal fell apart.

Several Deutsche Wohnen shareholders had spoken out against the combination, which would have cemented Vonovia's position as Europe's largest publicly traded homeowner.

It would have been the biggest-ever deal in Germany's real estate industry. 

Anbang — Starwood: $14 Billion 

An investor group led by China's Anbang Insurance Group Co. last month pulled its $14 billion offer to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., ending a takeover battle with Marriott International Inc. 

Anbang withdrew its bid three weeks after surprising the market with an offer for Starwood, four months after the hotel group had inked a deal with Marriott. 

While the Anbang deal collapsed, the original combination still stands: Marriott and Starwood shareholders approved a deal last week to create the world’s largest hotel operator . 

Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Orange — Bouygues: $11 Billion 

Project Jardiland -- the code name given to a tie-up between Orange SA and the phone business of Bouygues SA -- collapsed on April 1 after months of negotiations. 

Talks about a combination broke down over employee guarantees, valuation and execution risk, Bouygues said in a statement. Discussions to try and agree on a deal involved at least four companies as well as the French government. 

The transaction would have valued Bouygues's carrier at as much as $11 billion. 

Origin — Affymetrix: $1.5 billion 

Origin Technologies Corp. withdrew its offer for DNA-testing company Affymetrix Inc., after its target recommended a lower bid because of concerns over regulatory approval. 

Former Affymetrix executives created Origin, backed by a Chinese investment firm, to try and take the company private. The group would have needed approval from Chinese regulators to get third-party funding for the deal, which would also have been reviewed by U.S. officials. 

Affymetrix instead opted for a lower bid -- $14 a share compared to Origin's $17-a-share offer -- from  Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

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