North American merger and acquisition (M&A) activity fell in August 2014, compared with the previous month, with the total value of deals dropping 44% to 96bn, according to global M&A database Zephyr, which is run by Dutch business intelligence provider Bureau Van Dijk. The US saw deal value halve to $78.5bn in the month, while deal numbers fell 27% from 1266 transactions in July.
Activity in Canada tempered the decline, with Burger King Worldwide’s $11.3bn takeover offer for Ontario-based coffee and bakery chain Tim Hortons significantly boosting the country's M&A deal value.
Private equity and venture capital investments in North America followed a similar trend, with deal value slumping in the US and figures from Canada accounting for a significant proportion of the overall totals. Warren Buffet’s private equity firm, Berkshire Hathaway, committed $3bn of financing to the Burger King deal with Tim Hortons, making it the largest private equity investment in August. The second largest deal in the industry was the $1.4bn sale of Bahrain-based Investcorp’s container distributor Berlin Packaging to Oak Hill Capital.
“August often marks a lull in deal-making, and this year was no exception,” Zephyr director Lisa Wright said. “Encouraging M&A value in Canada, and particularly from private equity investment, gave a significant boost to the region’s results and also proves that the global food and hospitality industry remains a safe haven for investors.”