Acquisition transactions in the engineering sector last year had a double-digit falloff to the lowest level since 2013 and the sharpest decline rate since the recession, according to a new analysis by one sector consultant and deal broker. But others report a less drastic decline.
Morrissey-Goodale reports a 15% drop in design-firm M&A deals in 2016, to 202 from 238, with global transactions also falling to levels not seen since 2012. The firm also claims that, for the first time since then, more U.S. firms were acquiring abroad than overseas buyers entering the domestic market. “This puts decision-makers in uncharted territory since M&A typically rises or falls in sync with the economy,” says firm principal Mick Morrissey. “This is the first time in over 20 years that industry has seen declining consolidation in a growing economy.”