Renewables Drive Jump In Utility M&A Activity

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Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal value in the North American utilities and power-generation sector jumped almost 200% in the first quarter, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' quarterly M&A industry snapshot.

According to the report, there was an uptick in deal activity in the renewables space, reflecting an increasing appetite for clean energy as more utilities and power companies look to diversify their generation activity and navigate potential legislative and regulatory uncertainties.

The number of renewable energy deals increased to five from only two during the first quarter of 2010. There were three renewable deals in the top 10 transactions in the quarter, which were all corporate deals.

For the three-month period ending March 31, deals with a value greater than $50 million increased by 191%, with $31.7 billion in total deal value, compared to $10.9 billion in the same period in 2010. The increase in deal value was largely driven by the $26 billion merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy – the second-largest power deal since the first quarter of 2007 – which alone accounted for 82% of total deal value.

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