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Public M&A – as with all M&A – saw a drop in global activity in 2023 with fewer mega, transformational deals in particular. But activity continued, in particular with takeovers of smaller companies, and towards the end of the year we saw signs of a return to normal levels of activity.
As interest rates stabilise and the markets face less uncertainty, we expect public M&A activity levels to continue to pick up.
Parties are no longer deterred by the regulatory regimes discussed in our "Merger control, FDI and FSR" section – they have simply become part of the transactional jigsaw, which may affect the timetable but rarely fatally disrupt a deal. The biggest issues for public M&A parties in 2023 were the different valuation expectations that parties and/or their shareholders had, and how to bridge those expectations; and for target directors, deciding at what point a deal should be recommended – or which deal to recommend, when they may be comparing very different proposals.
Amelia Morgan, Sydney
Frédéric Bouvet, Paris
Laura Ackroyd, London
We are optimistic that 2024 will be a busy year for public M&A, with the return of more stable economic conditions. PE buyers have money to spend and strategics are still looking for deals to expand or transform their businesses. Target boards will have to consider carefully which is the right deal and what is the right price.
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only and may not be current as at the date of accessing this publication. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.
© Herbert Smith Freehills 2024