The combined deal value declined 79% from 2007, and the number of deals fell from 135 to 109, a drop of 19%.
Last year, which was defined by the credit crunch that moved strategic buyers ahead of financial buyers for the first time since 2001, was most notable for the deals that didn’t get done—those for Informa, Reed Business Information and Cygnus Business Media.
B-to-b media deals accounted for nine of the top 15 largest deals in 2008, according to DeSilva & Phillips. The health care sector was the most robust and was paced by Wolters Kluwer’s $400 million acquisition of UpToDate. The tail end of 2008 didn’t bode well for this year, with just 16.7% of the total deal volume generated in the fourth quarter.