Industrial merger and acquisition activity slackened during the first quarter amid a change in US government leadership, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a quarterly report.
PwC said there were 57 deals worldwide worth $50 million or more each during the quarter. That was down 68 from 2016’s fourth quarter.
The total value of the first-quarter transactions was $22.5 billion, a 13% decrease from the previous three months.
“Unanticipated geo-political and economic uncertainty coming out of the first quarter of 2017 have the potential to create formidable headwinds for deal makers for the balance of 2017,” Paul Elie, PwC’s US industrial manufacturing deals leader, said in a statement.
Donald Trump took office as president in January, pledging major economic and foreign affairs policy changes, with an “America First” emphasis. Also, the United Kingdom moved forward with steps to implement its exit from the European Union.
Clarity “around the new administration’s policies” would influence deal makers, the consulting company said in its report, referring to the Trump administration. PwC listed such issues as “the desire to reduce regulation, lower tax rates and future investment in infrastructure. This needs to be weighed in the light of unsuccessful attempts around immigration and the real of Affordable Care Act.”
At the time, PwC said there is “pent-up demand for deals and large availability around the globe, in particular China.”
The 57 first-quarter deals compared with 46 in the first quarter of 2016, according to PwC. However, the $22.5 billion value for the first quarter was 32% lower than the first three months of 2016.
PwC said the industrial machinery category led M&A activity during the first quarter. Asia the top region for deals, according to the report.