There were 48 transactions that closed in the Pittsburgh regional market during the first quarter of 2018 (Q1-2018), a decrease of approximately 9.4 percent from the 53 closed transactions in the prior quarter. The 48 closed transactions marks an increase from the 41 closed transactions during the same period in 2016.
The pace of M&A activity slowed in North America in Q1-2018, following a strong first quarter of 2017 (Q1-2017). In Q1-2018, M&A activity resembled dealmaking during 2011 to 2013 more than it did the recent boom from 2014 to 2016. Q1-2018 M&A volume decreased 14.6 percent while transaction size increased 40.9 percent compared to Q1-2017.
The slowdown comes despite sound economic indicators in the U.S., including sustained growth in manufacturing, strong corporate earnings growth and record-high CEO sentiment. While corporations in general are already operating from a position of strength, recent tax legislation and repatriation of foreign earnings are expected to further bolster balance sheets and give a boost to M&A in 2018. U.S. firms are expected to bring back $300-400 billion in cash, which is expected to be used on a combination of dividends, stock buybacks, capital expenditures and acquisitions.
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