Australia, often described as the lucky country, is widely lauded for its COVID-19 response that has seen the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions ahead of most other countries. Nonetheless, it has not avoided the severe economic impact, financial market volatility and investment uncertainty that has afflicted global economies and financial markets.
In line with the global plunge in M&A activity amid the pandemic, M&A deal value in Australia and New Zealand dropped 53% year on year in Q1 to US$5.4bn and deal volume fell 26% to 114 deals. April’s M&A activity plummeted 89% in value (US$588m) and 70% in deal count (12 deals) compared to April 2019. There were some signs of a recovery starting in May. Deal value fell 55% (to US$2bn) and deal count dropped 47% (to 24 deals) compared to May 2019.
Opinions are mixed about the strength and timing of a recovery of Australia’s M&A market, but the expectation for when the volatility in global financial markets subsides is a fairly unified one of staggered activity and a focus on underlying business strengths. The key to any M&A recovery is a more certain investment environment. Big corporates with strong balance sheets and well-funded private equity buyers are best positioned to be at the forefront of recovering M&A activity.
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In this live panel, we take stock of M&A activity in Australia & New Zealand and consider the areas where financial stress is of greatest concern, including:
- Overview of M&A H1 activity and insights
- Which sectors of the M&A landscape will present most opportunities?
- What is the impact of Australia’s new planned foreign investment regulations on M&A?
- How are M&A transactions being transformed in an era of work from home and social distancing?
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