By Dionne Thompson
2018 marked an exciting year in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for Singapore. Sovereign wealth continued to drive Singapore’s M&A landscape, which saw 688 transactions in the year, for a total reported worth of US$99 billion (S$136 billion), up 31% from 2017. Yahoo! looks at the year’s biggest and most talked about deals.
- US$17 billion Thomson Reuters deal: In the biggest leveraged buyout of the year, and among the biggest deals since the financial crisis, a consortium including sovereign wealth fund GIC acquired a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters’ Financial and Risk business, now known as Refinitiv. The Blackstone-led consortium, which also included the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, paid Thomson-Reuters about US$17 billion (S$23 billion) in gross cash proceeds. Reuters News remains part of Thomson Reuters, together with its accounting, and legal and tax divisions.
2. US$14 billion Ant Financial deal: China’s Ant Financial has become the biggest unicorn company in the world, after successfully raising US$14 billion (S$19 billion) in a funding round in which GIC and Temasek Holdings were among the main investors. Ant Financial operates Alipay, China’s biggest third-party payment provider. The stake acquired was not disclosed. Other main investors in the private funding round included US equity firm Warbug Pincus, Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
3. €10.1 billion Akzo Nobel deal: To refocus its businesses, Akzo Nobel, the maker of Dulux paints, sold its specialty chemicals business for €10.1 billion (S$15.7 billion) to GIC and the Carlyle Group, an American private equity firm. The Amsterdam-based Akzo Nobel is one of the biggest paints and coatings businesses in the world.
4. €4.6 billion AccorInvest deal: As part of an international consortium, GIC acquired a 57.8% stake in AccorInvest, the property business of mega French hotel chain AccorHotels, for €4.6 billion (S$7.2 billion). Consortium members include Saudi
Arabia sovereign wealth fund PIF, Credit Agricole Assurances, Colony NorthStar, and Amundi. AccorInvest has a portfolio of nearly 891 hotels, mostly in Europe, and operates the Novotel, Mercure and Ibis hotels.
5. €3 billion Bayer deal: Temasek Holdings bought a 3.6% stake in German drug maker Bayer for €3 billion (S$4.7 billion), raising its total stake in the pharmaceutical giant to about 4%. Temasek agreed to raise its shareholding to help Bayer raise funds for its proposed acquisition of Monsanto, a producer of genetically modified crops.