Driven by steady growth in the economy, domestic merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the architecture and engineering industry hit record levels in 2015, according to Morrissey Goodale LLC, a leading business management consulting and training firm to the A/E industry. Growing uncertainty about foreign markets, however, contributed to a drop in the number
of international deals last year.
In 2015, Morrissey Goodale tracked a record 234 sales of U.S.-based A/E firms, representing a 5.4% increase over the 222 domestic deals recorded in 2014. Sales of international firms, however, dropped 8.5% from 117 in 2014 to 107 last year. When domestic and international sales are combined, overall global dealmaking in the A/E industry increased by 0.6% in 2015.
Other findings from Morrissey Goodale’s 2015 AEC M&A Year in Review include:
• Texas remained the hottest spot for M&A activity in the United States with 31 firm sales in 2015. California was a close second with 24 firm sales. Other states that saw 10 or more deals last year included Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Florida.
• More than half (57.7%) of U.S. deals in 2015 involved a buyer and seller from different states, up from 56.2% in 2014.
• More than a fifth (20.8%) of global deals in 2015 involved publicly traded buyers, down from 28.4% in 2014.
• Mega-deals tapered somewhat last year as the median revenue of buyers decreased from $77 million in 2014 to $59 million in 2015, while the median revenue of sellers declined from $4 million to $3 million.
Morrissey Goodale Principal Consultant Neil Churman expects M&A activity in the United States will remain strong in 2016. “Continued confidence among AEC industry leaders will likely drive another busy year for domestic mergers and acquisitions,” he says. “Unease about the price of oil may give some buyers pause in pursuing energy deals, but a new transportation bill and strength in other building and infrastructure markets should lead to continued deal activity among growth-minded firms.”
Morrissey Goodale’s complete 2015 AEC M&A Year in Review and an interactive map of M&A activity in the United States can be found at www.morrisseygoodale.com.