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Economic Uncertainty Will Continue to Stymie M&A Activity in 2013

Steve Krouskos, who heads up global M&A advisory at Ernst & Young, expects it will continue to be tough to sell your business next year.

Video Transcript

00:11 Steve Krouskos: The deal market in 2012 has been difficult for buyers and sellers of all sizes of businesses, including entrepreneurial sellers of businesses. We've seen in declining deal volumes throughout the year, many months down 15%-20% on prior year. October was actually the first month that we saw an increase in deal volumes, only a 3% increase over the prior October, which we hope is good news but it's too early to tell. But certainly, for a young company looking to sell a business, that presents a challenge because there's fewer buyers. Buyers have been moving more CAUTIOUSLY. There's been a bit of an expectation gap between buyers and sellers on pricing, which is part of the reason for the slowdown in activity.

00:57 Krouskos: My outlook for 2013, in terms of M&A activity, is about the same. That's a very controversial topic right now because you'll hear a lot of different responses, and I've heard many people recently say that they feel like we're going to finally see an uptick. I'm not sure. If you look at our most recent Capital Conference Barometer, you see 25% of the respondents tell us they wanna do an acquisition. That's the fewest we've ever seen. We see 19% tell us that they wanna do a divestiture. That's the fewest we've ever seen. So I think there is an appetite for deals out there. I think there will continue to be deals. I'm expecting a relatively flat environment.

Last updated: Dec 21, 2012

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor,

Allison Fass is deputy editor of A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.

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