Momentum remains despite growing M&A obstacles

A ‘wait and see’ approach by companies congests the M&A pipeline 

The remainder of 2017 could see significantly more deal activity, says Clifford Chance in its Global M&A update, in part underpinned by companies’ willingness to spend on technologies and innovation to compete and stay ahead.

Clifford Chance, global head of M&A, Guy Norman, said: ‘Shareholder voices and activism are leading to corporate break-ups, sales of non-core assets and new acquisitions. The low-growth environment continues to drive boards to take action, which is promising for activity levels as we head to the year end.’

The past few weeks have already seen a number of cross-border deals announced, including Vantiv/Worldpay, Cheung Kong’s purchase of ista and the US $12bn bid by a Chinese consortium to take Singapore’s Global Logistic Properties private.

The first half of 2017 had been sluggish, with M&A activity down by 24 per cent by value in H1, compared to the previous six months. A ‘wait and see’ approach pervaded many multinationals’ boardrooms as a cocktail of Chinese capital outflow curbs, political instability and economic uncertainty put a brake on deals. Rising government, antitrust and regulatory hurdles in many jurisdictions added extra complexity.

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