Business / Industries

Outbound M&As target tech, consumer companies

By Jiang Xueqing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-15 07:39

Outbound M&As target tech, consumer companies
China's outbound mergers and acquisitions reached $96 billion in the first four months of 2016, far surpassing the total 2015 transaction volume of $59 billion and representing more than a fivefold increase from the first four months of last year, said a report released by JPMorgan Chase & Co on Tuesday.

The surge was partly driven by China National Chemical Corp's planned $46.4 billion acquisition of Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta AG.

The country's total M&A transaction volume nearly tripled from $259 billion in 2013 to $735 billion in 2015, accounting for half of the Asia-Pacific M&A volume and 15 percent of global volume last year, according to the report.

Other key drivers behind the growth include a shift in the Chinese economy from export-driven manufacturing to one driven by technology, industrial know-how and consumption. The report found that China's outbound M&A priorities evolved to focus on technology and consumption-focused sectors. Consistent with this shift, the targets of M&As moved from resource-abundant countries to developed countries that house companies with best-in-class capabilities and technologies.

As China's GDP growth slowed down to 6.7 percent in the first quarter, Chinese companies have turned to both domestic and outbound M&As to boost slowing organic growth.

The deals are facilitated by a supportive M&A financing environment along with overall monetary easing and a strategic imperative to execute overseas acquisitions. Regulators have also taken significant steps to relax the approval process for Chinese buyers seeking outbound acquisitions.

The recent M&A wave includes companies with a broader sector focus, domestic private equity firms and A-share listed companies, not just the energy- and resource-focused State-owned enterprises that were active earlier.

Brian Gu, co-head of M&A Asia Pacific at JP Morgan, said: "Most of the Chinese buyers have a strategic goal for their outbound acquisitions. The China M&A market has seen the emergence of experienced acquirers. They have become more confident in their ability to fund, execute and integrate multibillion-dollar deals."

The number of deals with a transaction value greater than $1 billion increased from two in 2005 to 28 over the 12 months ended April 2016.

The funding of outbound M&As can be more complex and less transparent than Western M&A financing. The source of funding may involve a diverse array of parties, including government investment vehicles, trust structures, equity syndicates and lesser-known private equity funds, according to the report.

Gu said: "Chinese buyers should be well-prepared for all sorts of possible questions from the target companies, providing a solution to address each concern of the sellers with the help of experienced legal and financial advisers."

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