It’s official: Deal-making remains sluggish

October 1, 2012, 11:55 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Last week we reported on preliminary M&A data for the third quarter, which suggested that the year’s deal-making slump had continued. Now we’ve got the official figures, and the prognosis remains negative.

Thomson Reuters reports that there was $538 billion worth of global M&A last quarter,which was down 13.3% from Q2 and down 3.4% from Q3 2011. The actual number of deals (8,476) also was down a whopping 15.4% from the year-earlier period. Maybe all those companies with record amounts of cash on hand are worried about weak Q3 earnings…

In terms of bright spots, there were two:

1. U.S. M&A activity came in at around $247 billion for 1,810 deals. That represented increases of around 20% over the dollar totals for both Q2 2012 and Q3 2011, although the actual number of deals lagged.

2. Similar situation for global private equity-backed M&A, which saw $78 billion for 1,009 deals. Dollar increases were 26.2% and 18.2% respectively, over Q2 2012 and Q3 2011, while the actual number of deals was down around 11% for both. The bulk of that increase was overseas, as U.S. private equity deal-making decreased to around $43 billion for 369 deals. Overall, private equity accounted for 14.5% of global M&A and 17.5% of U.S. M&A.

Below is a full data set:


Source: Thomson Reuters

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