ACG tracks Wisconsin deals

In 2011 and 2012, there were nearly 500 mergers and acquisitions completed that involved Wisconsin-based companies. About 285 involved a Wisconsin-based seller and 289 involved a Wisconsin-based buyer.

Statistics like this are hugely beneficial to the local M&A community. For the first time, the Association for Corporate Growth-Wisconsin Chapter has tracked the state’s completed mergers and acquisitions from 2011 and 2012.

There are no other groups tracking every Wisconsin deal, according to Vicki Fox, vice president of communications for ACG Wisconsin and managing director of Milwaukee investment bank Eisen Fox & Company. In fact, there do not appear to be any other states that have undertaken such a database.

“We were looking for ways that ACG could add value to its membership,” Fox said. “This is a void that ACG can fill, and we do plan to make it available to our members in a searchable format.”

Members could narrow the results to just deals in the paper industry or those that were in Southeastern Wisconsin, for example.

The trade organization plans to make the ACG Wisconsin M&A Deal Log an annual report, she said. ACG compiled the data using deal tracking program Capital IQ, local news reports and self-reporting from buyers and sellers.

While some deals remain private, ACG made every effort to report on deals that were announced in any way.

“I would think we’ve got 90, 95 percent of the deals that are announced,” Fox said. “I was surprised at how many we found and I think we’ll get better about it and as we do it more and publicize it more, we’ll get more deals reported as well.”

According to the report, the state’s most active companies in 2011 and 2012 were Roadrunner Transportation, with 13 acquisitions, GE Healthcare, with eight acquisitions and Johnson Controls Inc, with six.

The industrial goods sector made up 21 percent of transactions in 2012. That sector includes metal fabrication, industrial equipment and components and industrial electrical equipment. And the consumer goods sector, which includes packaging and containers, paper and paper products, rubber and plastics, household goods and sporting goods, took 15 percent of the pie.

A few details from the repot that surprised Fox: About one-third of the deals completed in 2012 were in the services area, which includes business, staffing and outsourcing, specialty retail and broadcasting.

Traditionally, Wisconsin completes a lot of manufacturing deals, particularly in food and beverage, but those numbers were lower than she expected. Food and beverage made up just 3 percent of deals in 2012.

And while Fox was not surprised there was a big spike in deal activity ahead of the expiration of the capital gains tax break at the end of 2012, she was surprised that the data showed such evenly distributed activity throughout the rest of the year. Wisconsin completed an average 15 deals per month over the last two years.

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