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Despite recent and ongoing global and regional challenges, 2020 is set to be a good year for mergers and acquisitions activity across the Asia Pacific region following an uptick in dealmaking at the end of 2019, according to a new report by global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

The firm’s seventh annual Asia Pacific M&A Review, published today, analyses the 2019 M&A performance of countries across the Asia Pacific region and previews market trends for 2020.

Despite some headwinds in 2019, including the impact of the US-China trade war, and the new challenges brought by the novel Coronavirus, the report highlights that healthy levels of activity are expected across a range of sectors and countries, all of which should boost the volume of transactions in the region throughout the year.

Australian M&A partner Tony Damian explained, “Although global M&A activity was softer in 2019 compared to previous years, a number of markets in the Asia Pacific region remained resilient and thrived.

“Deal momentum across the region increased at the end of 2019, with over 1000 deals totalling US$165bn recorded in Q4, making it the busiest quarter for M&A last year. The increased level of activity has helped to boost market confidence and bodes well for a good year of dealmaking in 2020.

“A range of sectors will contribute to deal flows in the year ahead, with energy, infrastructure, and technology all continuing to attract interest from both domestic and international players, while financial services will remain a breakout sector.”

Hong Kong-based partner Jason Sung said, “Many of Asia’s M&A markets performed extremely well in 2019. For example, Singapore flourished, with a significant jump in year on year deal value of 125.6%.

“We expect to continue to see growth in a number of jurisdictions this year. And despite a number of challenging conditions, China should also remain a key market for M&A in 2020.”

Read the full Asia Pacific M&A Review 2020

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Sally Greig

Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong

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Emily Coultas

Emily Coultas, External Communications Manager