15 January, 2014

 

Allen & Overy’s latest M&A Index shows that the recovery in M&A activity predicted at the beginning of 2013 failed to materialise. Figures are down, however a deeper analysis reveals new pockets of activity emerging:

 

  • the U.S. continues to be the most active M&A market;
  • Spain shows signs of recovery;
  • intra-regional deals dominate the Asia Pacific market.

 

Other global trends from the latest report include:

 

  • China’s relatively new merger control authority, MOFCOM, holds powers that are increasingly felt at home and abroad. To seal an M&A deal involving China, investors need to be aware of the work and time required for China merger control filing, of the far-reaching, often extra-territorial effects of remedies sought by Chinese authorities and of the time it takes to gain clearance for a deal.
  • In the wake of the financial crisis a growing number of investors – clearly still feeling risk-averse – are opting for joint ventures rather than full-blown takeovers but are taking a wide variety of approaches to framing agreements.
  • Private equity funds are now sitting on as much financial firepower as they had in the heady days of 2007, and the next 12 months should see them become much more active.

 

Gary McLean, head of Allen & Overy’s Asia-Pacific corporate practice said: “Two of the key themes in Asia-Pacific during 2013, particularly Q4, were the intra-regional deals and Japan outbound. Both came together in December with Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ’s USD5.4bn acquisition of a 72 per cent. stake in Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya. Japan outbound appears set to continue strongly this year with the announcement this week of Suntory’s USD16bn bid for Jim Beam.”

 

Dirk Meeus, co-head of the global corporate practice at Allen & Overy commented: “The lesson learnt in 2013 is that history does not repeat itself and that predictions in a post-crisis environment are harder than ever to make. Different regions and sectors will return to growth at different speeds and 2014 could become a year of opportunities: companies are cash rich, the Fed and the Bank of England have announced that interest rates will go up gradually as they start tapering, so it would be logical for companies to start acting now, before interest rates go up and while borrowing is still cheap.”

 

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