Today we learned that two of Canada’s largest oil producers, Suncor (SU) and Petro-Canada (PCZ), are merging in a $15.5 billion deal due to close in the third quarter. More large commodity-related deals, especially in the energy sector, could be coming. Despite the global recession, the long-term fundamentals for the commodities sector remain intact. Lower demand is clearly going to have a large effect on demand near-term (prices have already come down a lot in most cases), but unless you think the global economy will not recover, commodities will serve as an economic barometer going forward, in both directions.
When you couple temporary price declines (in the actual commodity as well as the stock prices of the large producers) with long term bullish industry trends and supply limitations (lack of credit availability limits exploration and drilling projects used to boost supply), mergers in the current environment are going to look attractive to CEOs who are anticipating the commodity markets will rebound when the economy does.
While I don’t have specific companies in mind that have a better chance of being acquired than others (I would have preferred Suncor to be a seller rather than a buyer, given Peridot’s long-term position in the company), but I would expect this energy deal to be just the first in a series of large deals in the next couple of years.
Full Disclosure: Peridot was long shares of Suncor at the time of writing, but positions may change at any time