African deal-making dropped to its lowest level for five years during 2017

The highest valued M&A transaction in 2017 was in the field of energy and power in Mozambique
The highest valued M&A transaction in 2017 was in the field of energy and power in Mozambique
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The total number of mergers & acquisitions (M&A) deals in sub-Saharan Africa during 2017 dropped to its lowest level since 2012.

The value of M&A transactions announced in 2017 fell to $32.4 billion, down from $42.5 billion in 2016 and $64.9 billion in 2015—the highest recorded in the last decade, according to investment banking analysis by Thomson Reuters.

The region’s inbound M&A, deals led by global companies, hit a three-year-low at $14.4 billion, fall by 18%, with companies from the US, UK and Switzerland leading the acquisitions. Outbound deals led by African firms totaled $7.8 billion, a drop of 44%. South Africa led 66% of all of sub-Saharan African M&A activity outside of Africa, followed by  Mauritius (32%), and Seychelles (3%). India, the UK and Germany were the main target countries for acquisitions.

The total value of domestic M&A transactions within the region by African firms dipped by 1.9% to $5.8 billion.

A total of 369 M&A deals were completed throughout the year valued at $22.6 billion, with the first quarter alone recording five of the top ten. In March, Exxon Mobil Corp marked the highest value deal of $2.8 billion in Mozambique. Other top acquisitions included Vodacom in Kenya and Glencore in Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, separately.

While the highest number of deals in the final quarter of 2017 were in the financial sector, the highest value in M&A transactions was in the field of energy and power, which had 59 deals overall.

Goldman Sachs was the top M&A banker in sub-Saharan Africa related-deals with over 15% of all  transaction value.