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Deal Info, Merger Mania, and Acquisition Avenues
Volume 40, Number 6 - November/December 2016


The company financial database Bureau van Dijk (BvD) provides Zephyr ( as its flagship M&A deals database. It provides all the standard transaction data available as well as additional analysis and rumor reports from its editorial team on approximately 1.5 million deals and rumors. The deals are sourced from a wide variety of international sources with specific strength in Europe and Asia-Pacific M&A deals. Zephyr covers more than 10 years of history for deals around the world and an even longer history for deals with a European counterpart. Throughout the transaction reports, the original source of information is indicated and, when available, the actual source is linked into the report.

The international coverage within Zephyr is extensive due to the multilingual sources used during the research process that are then translated into English. This multilingual coverage allows for more M&A deals in emerging markets. The reports include financial summaries and links into the other BvD financial products for more detailed information. Also included is a timeline of commentary related to the rationale and ongoing process. As with other databases, an alerting option is available.

An interesting additional item is the M&A Portal (, which provides access to recent M&A news items and a free search point into the Zephyr database. The reports are then available for purchase on a per-report basis.


Mergermarket ( is another player in the M&A deals field providing a rich source of M&A intelligence. The available information is segmented by five major regions—North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East Africa. The primary components of the database are Intelligence, Dealscope, Deals, League Tables, Profiles, PE Portfolio, and Equity Capital Markets. The Intelligence segment focuses on identifying current potential opportunities with a variety of parameters, including industry sector and geographic region. The filters include Companies for Sale, Companies Looking to Buy, and Situations in the News.

Dealscope combines the Intelligence and Deals sections to focus on the companies and gathered rumor information in both potential and past activity. It is this forward-looking intelligence that it emphasizes as a strength. Its journalists and researchers actually communicate with CEOs, CFOs, and other industry contacts to obtain pre-event data. Deals provides the search interface into Mergermarket’s main database of M&A transactions. The historical transactions include approximately 100,000 North American deals dating back to 2001 and Europe back to 1999.

The other segments are the PE Portfolio for private equity funding activities and additional add-on components for enterprise content management (ECM), including equity capital and initial public offering (IPO) information. The geographic components frame the pricing structure, allow ing for access to only the most relevant areas. It also provides an alerting feature.


Pratt’s Stats and Public Stats ( are two separate datasets available from Business Valuation Resourc es (BVR). It claims to contain the most extensive amount of information in the market sourced from a contributor network built by the company. Specifically, Pratt’s Stats’ focus is on private seller to public or private buyers back to 1990, while Public Stats focuses on public sellers and public buyers back to 1995.

The primary focus for these two datasets is on effective business valuation in the context of mergers and acquisitions. The key tool within Pratt’s Stats is the PS Analyzer, effectively Excel on steroids, with financial and analytical functions for analyzing the transactions. BVR claims to have more extensive data than the Thomson ONE Banker dataset with better descriptions. The Pratt and Public Stats are heavily used in litigation proceedings due to the accuracy of the data. BVR actually allows for a selection of different databases to be accessed through them, including FactSet Mergerstat, BIZCOMPS, BizMiner, ktMINE, PitchBook, and several others.

The last M&A database reviewed is CB Insights (, which uses a technology-enhanced method of gathering M&A transaction data for an improved addition rate within its database. CB Insights is designed for tracking from the earliest identification of a possible M&A transaction to the final result, including financing events, capital infusions, and non-financial events (products, etc.). Search parameters include Deal, Company, and Investor Search, with 550 subcategories available for filtering and focusing the results. Ranked tables and comparable transactions are available within the portal. There is a current awareness alert option as well. The CB Insights portal is an information-rich competitive analysis tool that provides company profiles,


The M&A database market is a complicated area of competition with the above rival sources of M&A data providing similar search interfaces, varying coverage and scope of M&A transactions, and varying additional elements of analytical data and tools. As a need for M&A data arises, it will be imperative to carefully evaluate the exact scope and functionality of these sources as well as additional databases to make a fully informed decision. The differences are often very subtle across these competing resources.

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Hal P. Kirkwood is associate professor, Roland G. Parrish Library of Management & Economics, Purdue University.


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