Executive Briefings

Market Gains Confidence as Megadeal Merger & Acquisition Activity Takes Off in 2014

If one had to choose a single word to describe the M&A market in 2013, it would be disappointing, and indeed many market participants have used this very term. But the exasperated deal makers have had little time to cry in their beer - they've been too busy. The M&A market took off like a rocket in 2014, fueled by the return of the megadeal (transactions with a value of more than $10bn), which has been in hibernation for the last several years. The momentum of the first quarter carried into the second, setting up 2014 as a potential bellwether for the market's longer-term evolution.

Megadeals capture the headlines, adding confidence to the market. At the same time, there is another, less publicized but no less significant, trend developing—one that should attract even greater interest in the boardroom. As first noted two years ago, research shows a continuing rise in divestitures as a powerful strategy for both unlocking value in today’s markets and improving performance by focusing on core operations. In 2013, divestitures represented almost half the total M&A market.

Is the long post-2008 M&A hangover finally coming to an end? Positive signs abound, for a change, starting with strong market activity. The Boston Consulting Group’s tenth annual assessment of crucial M&A trends, based on BCG’s global M&A database of almost 40,000 transactions since 1990, shows that following an anemic 2011 and a slow 2012, the M&A market stabilized in 2013, albeit at disappointing levels. It entered 2014 with a strong tailwind, including the announcement of roughly as many megadeals in the first six months as in the two previous years combined.

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Megadeals capture the headlines, adding confidence to the market. At the same time, there is another, less publicized but no less significant, trend developing—one that should attract even greater interest in the boardroom. As first noted two years ago, research shows a continuing rise in divestitures as a powerful strategy for both unlocking value in today’s markets and improving performance by focusing on core operations. In 2013, divestitures represented almost half the total M&A market.

Is the long post-2008 M&A hangover finally coming to an end? Positive signs abound, for a change, starting with strong market activity. The Boston Consulting Group’s tenth annual assessment of crucial M&A trends, based on BCG’s global M&A database of almost 40,000 transactions since 1990, shows that following an anemic 2011 and a slow 2012, the M&A market stabilized in 2013, albeit at disappointing levels. It entered 2014 with a strong tailwind, including the announcement of roughly as many megadeals in the first six months as in the two previous years combined.

Read Full Article