Ernst & Young survey: Companies wary of M&A


NEW YORK A survey has found that companies around the world are still reluctant to go on the acquisition trail even though they are more confident about the global economy.

Accounting and consultancy firm Ernst & Young found that 51 percent of the executives questioned think the global economy is improving - more than double the level recorded last October. But the survey found that only 29 percent of companies expect to do a deal in the coming year.

"Executives are experiencing a confidence paradox. There are clear signs of a dealmaking inflection point and companies are ready to transact; however, it may take time before we see plans turn into actions," said Richard M. Jeanneret, vice chair of Ernst & Young's Americas Transaction Advisory Services, in a statement Monday.

"Respondents say asset valuations are poised to rise, and while they do not have near-term plans for transformational M&A, executives are positioning their strategies for a growth pickup and companies are setting the stage for a bolder future," said Jeanneret.

The survey was based on responses from 1,600 senior executives in 50 countries, 85 percent of which had annual revenues of more than $500 million.