Generally driven by a bump in generation asset and renewables transactions, mergers and acquisitions more than doubled in the fourth quarter of 2012 over the same period in 2011 for a whopping 116% increase, according to the PwC U.S. quarterly report North American Power Deals: Q4 2012.

Here are some takeaways from the report:

  • The number of announced transactions over $50 million has grown regularly since Q2 2012
  • 13 deals worth $4.9 billion were reported in Q4 2012, compared to eight in the third quarter
  • Alternative energy accounted for 40% of the total transactions in Q4 2012, with wind representing 60% of those deals

“With continued low natural gas prices and lingering uncertainty around load recovery, environmental regulations and tax policies and incentives, we saw an uptick in generation asset and renewable transactions through the end of 2012,” said Jeremy Fago, PwC power and utilities transaction services leader. “Additionally, we saw an increase in wind deal activity as expiration of the Production Tax Credit approached at the end of December. Looking at the deal landscape throughout the year, we anticipate more merchant divestiture activity as companies look to rebalance around core regulated businesses.”

Also in Q4, strategic investors led the investor group with 57% of acquisitions of more than $50 million, but financial investors were more active than they have been in the past two years as they hunted for “distressed and attractively priced assets.”