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3 key take-aways from CMS’ European M&A Outlook

Optimism amongst dealmakers for the future of European M&A has faltered somewhat since last year. The past 12 months have seen a shift in sentiment in the M&A community and the beginning of a downturn in activity with M&A value down 22% year-on-year to €652.2bn according to CMS' European M&A Outlook published in cooperation with Mergermarket. 

Here are 3 key findings from the research:

  • M&A appetite weakens. 45% of respondents are not considering M&A, compared to only 28% last year. Only 27% of respondents to this year’s survey expect the level of M&A activity in Europe to increase over the next 12 months, and just 1% expect it to increase significantly. Even those that are open to deals have adopted a more defensive mindset, with a slant towards divestments and bolt-ons rather than transformative deals.
  • Financing conditions to tighten. 72% of respondents expect financing conditions to become more difficult in the coming year, even though, at the moment, interest rates are low and finance is readily available. This contrasts sharply with last year’s survey, in which 47% predicted financing conditions would get easier in the coming year. Most respondents (53%) expect that they will have to finance deals from their own balance sheets. 
  • Distressed M&A and restructuring to rise. 95% of respondents said they expected distressed M&A to rise, including 64% who said they expected it to rise significantly. 94% of respondents said they thought restructurings would increase in number. The consumer sector has already seen an increase in distressed deal flow, which could spill over into other sectors if growth continues to stall and trade spats escalate.

Download the full report here.

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