March (M&A) Madness

28 March 2017


This time of year most of us in the US and many around the world turn our attention to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament – aka “March Madness”. Correctly predicting the entire series of playoff games – the “bracket” – or even the Final 4 lineup of contenders, is more difficult than correctly predicting the next big M&A deal. But now that the Final 4 is set, let’s take a look the biggest deals from the remaining teams’ home states. Admittedly this is a very US-centric blog post, but in an effort to have a little bit of fun, let’s see how the schools stack up according to their state’s total number of M&A deals and single largest deal in both 2016 and YTD 2017*.

University of South Carolina – Columbia, SC (#7 Seed)




  • # of Deals YTD 2017: 21
  • Largest Disclosed Deal - Arkados Group Inc.’s pending $15 million acquisition of SolBright Renewable Energy LLC




  • # of Deals: 90
  • Largest Disclosed Deal – Amcor Rigid Plastics’ $280 million acquisition of 7 plastics blow molding operations properties of Sonoco Products Corp.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, NC (#1 Seed)




  • # of Deals YTD 2017: 81
  • Largest Disclosed Deal - Bain Capital’s pending $3.2 billion acquisition of the Diversey Care & Related Hygiene Business of Sealed Air Corp (Advisor - Citi)




  • # of Deals: 301
  • Largest Disclosed Deal – Arch Capital Group’s $3.43 billion acquisition of United Guaranty Corp from AIG (Advisors - JP Morgan & Morgan Stanley)

Gonzaga University – Spokane, WA (#1 Seed)




  • # of Deals YTD 2017: 61
  • Largest Disclosed Deal - Kaiser Permanente’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Group Health Cooperative (Advisor - Evercore Partners)




  • # of Deals: 259
  • Largest Disclosed Deal – Zayo Group Holdings’ $1.42 billion acquisition of Electric Lightwave Inc.

University of Oregon – Eugene, OR (#3 Seed)




  • # of Deals YTD 2017: 38
  • Largest Disclosed Deal - Columbia Banking System Inc.’s $649 million pending acquisition of Pac Continental Corp (Advisor - DA Davidson & Co Inc.)




  • # of Deals: 125
  • Largest Disclosed Deal - Thermo Fisher Scientific’s $4.43 billion acquisition of FEI Co. (Advisor - Goldman Sachs)

In what is sure to be the hottest trend in picking next year’s bracket, if you look purely at the combined numbers, Gonzaga will top South Carolina and North Carolina will best Oregon to set up a North Carolina Gonzaga final game. The University of North Carolina looks to be your national champion as it beats out Gonzaga both in terms of number of M&A deals and largest deal value – oh, yeah, and future NBA players.


*Data from Thomas Reuters



Matt Wells

Matthew Wells

As Intralinks’ vice president, product marketing, Matt Wells is a key member focused on the development and go-to-market strategy for Intralinks’ M&A business which includes our virtual data room and deal lifecycle solutions. Matt joined Intralinks in 2012 upon the acquisition of PE-Nexus, a company he co-founded in 2010 that pioneered the concept of online deal sourcing and buyer identification. Before PE-Nexus, he was a vice president at Cross Keys Capital, a boutique advisory firm, where he focused on middle-market M&A transactions.

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