09:45Japanese M&A update: Dealmaking in a post-pandemic world
Despite the global pandemic, Japan emerged as one of the leaders of M&A growth in Asia in 2020. Contributing to half of the region’s mega deals, dealmaking is set to continue gaining momentum in 2021. The past year has seen an uptick in domestic M&A activity, as corporates offload their non-core assets, consolidate their operations, and strengthen their business portfolios. While outbound M&A has not reached pre-2020 levels, the influx of domestic deals, dry powder, and pent-up demand surely means that corporates will once again turn to cross-border acquisitions. Against this backdrop, our panel of leading experts discuss the current trends and deal flow activity in and out of Japan, and how to best approach dealmaking in a post-pandemic world.
- What will be the future themes and trends driving Japanese M&A in the next 12 months?
- Domestic M&A: What has driven the trend for corporate carve-outs and divestitures in the past year, and will the streamlining of businesses continue?
- Outbound activity: Where are companies seeking targets, what will be the opportunities in the pipeline, and where will the challenges lie?
- What and where are the opportunities for Japanese corporates, and how do they plan on streamlining their businesses as the world emerges from the pandemic?
11:15Corporate governance and shareholder activism: The evolving playbook
Although the rise of shareholder activism in Japan is not new, the pandemic has heightened the growth of activity in the region. On the regulatory front, recent corporate governance reforms mean that listed companies have to take into account independent board directors, management diversity, and environmental disclosure. At the same time, hostile bidding for domestic rivals and unwinding of parent-child listings continues to rise, as corporates become more attuned to shareholder value and activist pressure, signalling a wave of consolidation and selling in the market. Our panel of advisors discuss how best to manage shareholder expectations in the region and prepare for governmental reforms.
- What are the drivers of shareholder activism and corporate governance in the region?
- How will recent corporate governance reforms smooth the rise of shareholder activism, and how will they drive further consolidation?
- Given the activity in 2020, will we see more unwinding of parent-child structures in the region?
- What is driving the growth of hostile bids in Japan, and what can we learn from the Nitori-Shimachu takeover bid?
13:30Pursuing innovations through technology M&A: The corporate perspective
Technology investments remain one of the most active sectors in Japanese M&A. Bolstered by the pandemic, which has accelerated the pace of digitalisation and e-commerce, Japanese corporates in sectors ranging from financial services to healthcare continue to search for technology acquisitions to assist business transformation and innovation. Against this promising backdrop, our panel of corporate executives discuss dealmaking in this sector, and how companies can future-proof their positions by pursuing domestic and outbound technology M&A.
- Where are top Japanese corporates looking to make strategic investments – domestic or outbound?
- Which sub-sectors are Japanese investors looking at, including healthtech and fintech?
- From a corporate perspective, what are the challenges of investing in foreign technology companies, and has the pandemic made things more difficult?
- Venture capital in Japan – are more companies choosing M&A as an exit route and, if so, why?
15:00Going outbound: Japanese M&A investment in India
Japanese outbound M&A remains cautiously optimistic, as cash-rich strategics look to acquire businesses to bolster their operations. In particular, Japanese investments in India are poised for a boom, particularly in light of the pandemic, which has resulted in an increase in distressed assets in the region. However, investing comes with its own set of unique regulatory, geopolitical, and cultural challenges. Our panel of leading advisors share their views on how best to capture opportunities in India.
- What have been the key investment trends in 2021, for example, increased distressed assets and restructurings, and what is the outlook for the rest of the year?
- Which sectors are the most attractive to Japanese investors, such as India’s startup ecosystem?
- What are some of the challenges Japanese investors should expect to face when dealing with outbound M&A in India next year, such as valuation, corporate governance, and due diligence issues?
- Which best practices can Japanese investors borrow from recent acquisitions in India?
16:15The rise of Japanese private equity
Despite the pandemic, Japan continues to be an increasingly attractive investment destination, with global private equity firms setting up shop in the region to win deals from domestic corporates that are revamping their businesses. With funds sitting on substantial amounts of dry powder and an increasingly large number of domestic companies looking to unload noncore operations to private equity sponsors, the outlook for the industry looks promising. However, there are concerns of overheating as well as a lack of available assets. Our panel of leading global and regional GPs share their views on the market.
- What have been some notable deals in the past 12 months, and what is the outlook for the rest of 2021? Where do large-cap and mid-cap firms see opportunities, and what is the fundraising outlook?
- Why are Japanese corporate management teams becoming more receptive to private equity as a buyer?
- How are Japanese strategics competing for assets during the auction process?
- Is the private equity market in Japan in danger of overheating?
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