Special Report
A record-breaking year for M&A deals
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8th February 2013

Most of the acquired companies were in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Most of the acquirers were in Brazil, the US and — surprisingly — in Colombia. Trends and data drawn from the Latin Business Chronicle 2012 Latin America’s top 100 M&A ranking.
Mergers have grown larger in Latin America. Last June brewer Anheuser Busch InBev agreed to buy the remaining 50 percent it did not already own of Grupo Modelo for a reported $20.1 billion. This was the largest acquisition ever in Mexican history. It dwarfed such 2011 largest deals as the $7.7 billion spin-off of Carlos Slim’s Minera Frisco, or the $5.8 billion acquisition of Brazilian Tele Norte Leste Participações by Brazilian telecom Oi.
The second biggest M&A operation in 2012 was Itaú Unibanco’s takeover of Redecard, a $6.8 billion deal. The transaction increased Itaú’s share in the debit and credit card business that should eventually boost its fee-based revenues. At the time of the deal (September 2012), many analysts felt that, albeit strategic, it was an expensive move which meant paying a 60 percent premium over Itaú’s 10 times price/earnings ratio. Time will tell if it really was worth it.
The health industry had a salient place in the list of last year’s mega deals. Minnesota-based United Health Group, the biggest health insurance company in the US, paid $4.5 billion for the largest Brazilian managed-care operator, Amil Participações. United Health thus gained access to the private-insurance …

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