Global M&A activity to jump 10 per cent in first half of year

Jasper Jolly
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Asian activity is expected to drive increased M&A numbers (Source: Getty)

The number of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) will grow by 10 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the start of 2016, according to research based on lawyers’ preparations.

Consumer and retail firms will lead the way in the deals pick-up, along with the industrial and healthcare sectors, according to technology firm Intralinks.

Many lawyers carrying out complicated M&A transactions use virtual deal rooms to keep sensitive documents carefully secured. While the contents of these rooms are closely guarded, the number opened can give a glimpse into activity.

Read more: UK M&A dealmakers ramp up US acquisitions in second half of 2017

The UK looks set for “modest growth” in the first half of 2018, with early-stage M&A activity having risen by four per cent over the past six months, Intralinks said.

The strong global activity will be driven by a surge in dealmaking in Asia and the Pacific, with a 14 per cent jump in deal numbers year-on-year in the first half. The jump is expected to be driven by transactions in the energy and industrial sectors, as Asia’s rapidly expanding economies demand better infrastructure.

The data show US performance will be weaker than “exceptionally strong” first half of last year, but in spite of the five per cent dip in activity the North American market remains “buoyant”, Intralinks said.

Read more: A fintech M&A bonanza drove deal value to its highest level last year

Philip Whitchelo, a vice president at Intralinks, said: “Despite recent volatility in financial markets, the dealmaking environment continues to be supported by a strong pick-up in global economic growth, low inflation, low interest rates and a plentiful supply of corporate and private equity bidders.”

Recent stock market may also boost deal numbers in the coming months, he added, as frothy valuations come back down to earth.

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