In 2021, as the global economy roared back from COVID-19 shutdowns, the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market went into hyperdrive. Deals held over from the previous year, combined with huge demand for new transactions amid the bounceback, powered M&A to all-time highs.
After such a period, 2022 was predictably more restrained — and the economic and geopolitical challenges that developed over the course of the year added to the likelihood of a slowdown, while an array of headwinds gathered strength.
Against the backdrop of this shifting landscape, we surveyed 300 M&A dealmakers globally to get a picture of their current sentiment, where they see the market heading and the challenges and opportunities they expect along the way.
- Optimism Persists. 62% of respondents expect overall levels of M&A activity to increase over the year to come. All respondents are expecting to undertake deal activity over the next 12 months — and 42 percent expect to do four or more deals. The mid-market is expected to dominate. More than three-quarters of respondents (78 percent) expect to undertake a mid-market transaction (worth less than USD two billion) in the next 12 months.
- ESG in the Spotlight. In last year’s study, we reported on the growing importance of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors in dealmaking and deal processes. This theme has accelerated over the past 12 months. 72% now expect ESG issues to receive more scrutiny in M&A processes over the next three years, compared to 62 percent who said the same last year.
- Disruptive Trends Continue to Emerge. 68% say deal automation will affect M&A processes in the next 12 months. This is in contrast to last year's report, in which only 42 percent of respondents felt the same way. Meanwhile, other disruptive trends observed in last year’s report — notably, the growing importance of data analytics and cybersecurity protection during deal processes — have also gained momentum.
- Private Equity Leads the Way. While corporate dealmakers are increasingly preoccupied with the slowing global economy, increasing inflation and geopolitical risks, private equity investors are still sitting on unprecedented amounts of dry powder. As a result, private equity dealmakers are notably more optimistic about their deal activity. 64% expect to undertake four or more deals over the next 12 months, compared to 34 percent of corporates.
About this research
In the second quarter of 2022, Mergermarket surveyed 300 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) dealmakers from 225 corporate and 75 private equity (PE) firms. These included 100 respondents headquartered in North America, 75 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 75 in Asia Pacific and 50 in Latin America. Overall, 21 percent of corporates describe their main sector of focus as Technology, Media and Telecom, with 18 percent in each of Industrials and Chemicals, Energy, Mining and Chemicals, and Financial Services. Among these corporates, 46 percent have an annual turnover greater than USD three billion. Among PE respondents, 53 percent have assets under management of less than USD 10 billion.
All charts show overall figures, except when figures based on region or corporate/PE are statistically significant.
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