Campbell’s Soup to Sell Bolthouse Farms Brand in Refocusing Effort
Pitchbook data reveals that $43.6 billion in capital was spent on 27 M&A deals throughout last week, $28.4 billion more capital than the week before but on two fewer deals. Chevron (NYS: CVX) shelled out $33 billion to acquire Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum (NYS: APC) in the week’s largest deal.
Transportation Space Highlights Last Week’s M&A Activity
Data from Pitchbook shows that $15.2 billion of capital was invested across 29 M&A deals last week, $4.4 billion less capital on two more deals than the previous week. The largest two deals during the week were Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners’ $3.6 billion LBO of Oryx Midstream Partners and the $2.44 billion acquisition of AmeriGas Partners by UGI Utilities. AmeriGas is a publicly traded propane distributor, and Oryx is a natural gas collection group. The transportation space was an active sector, as A&S Kinard and Buckler Transport were acquired by Day & Ross Freight; TFI International acquired Nebraska-based Aulick Leasing and its manufacturing business, ShurAul; and Providence Equity Partners acquired transportation software provider GlobalTranz.
Mergers & Acquisitions: Manufacturing Sector Sees Continued Strong Activity in the M&A Space
Pitchbook data reveals that $19.6 billion of capital was invested across 27 M&A transactions last week, twelve more deals but $17.2 billion less capital than in the week prior. The largest deal was publicly traded Centene’s corporate acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, also a publicly traded company, for $15.3 billion. The manufacturing vertical has been busy in 2019 through the end of last week, posting 48 transactions and $19 billion capital invested in LBOs and corporate acquisitions.
Initial Public Offerings: Lyft Follows Through with Long-Awaited IPO
According to the New York Stock Exchange website, two companies went public last week, the same figure as the week before. However, those two companies, Lyft and Precision BioSciences, combined raised more than in the prior week, raising $2.3 billion and $126 million, respectively. Lyft has been a highly anticipated IPO since the beginning of 2018, and the results of its IPO are indicative of it. The company priced its IPO at $72 per share, well above its initial estimates after a roadshow in which the firm received commitments in excess of expectations. As of trading close on Friday, Lyft was valued at approximately $26.5 billion.
Economy: U.S. Fourth Quarter Economic Growth Revised Downward
Among news last week:
The U.S. economy has continued to show signs of slowdown in February, as recessionary fears for 2020 continue to mount. Labor market growth hit a sudden slump as only 20,000 jobs were added in February. Analysts and economists suggest that such a low figure is mostly an anomaly but that job growth should continue to slow headed into 2019. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2% while non-farm wages grew 3.4% for the year ended February, a strong reading and prompting hope for higher consumer demand in the coming months. It was also reported that worker productivity reached record highs in the fourth quarter of 2018, lending more credence to higher output forecasts for this year.
In last week’s economic news, US job openings reached a record high at 7.3 million, marking 1.2 jobs available for every unemployed person. However, despite the record-breaking job market, the week’s most notable news was a relatively steep decline in retail sales during the month of December. US retail sales dropped 1.2% during the month, or the greatest percent decline in more than nine years.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has reported that, overall, U.S. industrial production has continued to grow thanks to increased manufacturing and mineral outputs, while utilities production has fallen sharply. IHS Markit’s U.S. Services index showed services output falling to a four-month low but staying in growth territory. Lastly, U.S. soybean exports to China have fallen dramatically from stable levels in August, likely due to the implementation of tariffs from China.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors announced that U.S. existing home sells fell dramatically year-over-year in December and that home-price inflation is slowing down to a seven-year low. Also, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association revealed that American companies are borrowing and leasing slightly less for capital investment purposes than one year ago. Lastly, worldwide credit levels continue to rise to great heights, equivalent to 318% of global output, as of September.
Beige Book Shows Moderately Positive Economic Conditions While Consumer Sentiment Reveals Loss of Confidence
The Federal Reserve’s January 2019 Beige Book shows a general increase in economic activity, while the labor market remains tight and input costs are on the rise. The University of Michigan revealed that consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in over two years, according to its Survey of Consumers. The ongoing government shutdown and market volatility were the leading factors. Also, the Labor Department released its import- and export-price indices for December, which both fell during the month. Year over year, import prices had their largest drop since September 2016.
The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting were released, showing the board’s reluctance to increase interest rates amid weakening inflationary pressures and slowing global growth. The Bureau of Labor statistics furthered this point when releasing its December Consumer Price Index, which revealed the first monthly decrease in prices in nine months. The inflationary gauge did rise on an annualized basis, albeit slower than in prior months. Also, unemployment insurance claims fell unexpectedly in the first week of the new year.
Two surveys on U.S. manufacturing activity suggest a dramatic slowdown in the sector. HIS Markit’s manufacturing PMI revealed a subtle 1.5-point drop to a 15-month low, while the Institute for Supply Management’s PMI experienced a one-month decline of 5.2 points, the greatest in 10 years. Despite waning manufacturing activity, the job market experienced an unexpected surge as 312,000 jobs were added, 136,000 more than expected, while the unemployment rate rose slightly and wage gains posted a nine-year higher.