A MESSAGE FROM LYLE GANSKE, WORLDWIDE M&A PRACTICE LEADER -
Early expectations for an outstanding year for M&A activity in 2017 (based on the very promising conditions in place at the end of 2016) were fulfilled in part, but the overall theme for 2017 could be said to be “deferred potential.” In short, 2017 was a strong year for dealmakers but not a great one.
Globally, the M&A market in 2017 saw an uptick in the number of transactions, but it held steady in terms of deal value. Worldwide, 49,448 deals were announced at an aggregate value of $3.6 trillion, with 2016 at 48,250 deals and $3.6 trillion. In the United States, the number of transactions increased —from 11,504 to 13,069 — but the aggregate value of those transactions declined —from $1.7 trillion to $1.4 trillion. This is consistent with what we saw in many boardrooms throughout the year— companies continuing to do deals, but on a smaller scale, with fewer large-scale transformative acquisitions being inked. Europe saw a decline in the number of deals, but aggregate value increased, while Asia saw a decrease in value and a slight increase in deal count. Overall, the picture is one of incremental acquisition, with transformative transactions (especially those involving the United States) potentially deferred into 2018 in the face of considerable tax, antitrust, CFIUS, trade, Brexit, Chinese capital control, and other regulatory and policy uncertainty.
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