Slim helps emerging-market M&A outstrip U.S., Europe

  @ibtimes on February 10 2010 3:46 PM

LONDON - Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's multi-billion dollar move to consolidate his telecoms empire has helped push emerging-market mergers and acquisitions (M&A) ahead of U.S. and European dealmaking in the year to date.

Thomson Reuters data, released on Wednesday, showed M&A with targets in emerging markets totaled $93.3 billion, or 48 percent of global deals so far in 2010.

While the data is based on only about six weeks, it highlights how Latin America and Asia may grow in importance in the M&A landscape, as the financial crisis has left Europe and the United States grappling with sluggish economies and sickly banking systems.

Developing-world dealmaking has never outstripped either European or U.S. M&A -- let alone both combined -- in the same period in any year in the data series, which starts in 1984. It has never outpaced European and U.S. M&A for any full quarter on record either.

In January Slim unveiled a plan to consolidate his Latin American telephone companies, via a share offer by the continent's top mobile-phone provider, America Movil SAB de CV, for Carso Global Telecom SA de CV, the holding company for two fixed-line operators.

Slim's deal, which Thomson Reuters data values in two parts worth a total $34.1 billion, alone made up more than a third of emerging-market M&A.

Mexico also accounted for the second-biggest emerging market deal: Heineken NV's purchase of the beer business of FEMSA, valued in the data at $7.35 billion, while the fourth- and fifth-biggest deals were both in Brazil.

According to a Mexican wealth-tracker, Slim is worth about $59 billion, meaning he vies with Microsoft founder Bill Gates for title of the world's richest man.

Worldwide announced M&A fell 28 percent last year to $2.07 trillion. Announced deals with Western European targets halved to $534 billion, while U.S. deals dropped 22 percent to $720 billion. South American deals fell by a quarter to $84.5 billion.

(Reporting by Quentin Webb; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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