Business / Economy

M&A deals surge to $352b in first six months, says PwC report

By Cai Xiao (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-21 10:51

Merger and acquisition deals completed in China were worth a record $352 billion in the first six months of 2015, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which now expects a slower pace over the rest of the year.

The report said booming stock markets, industry consolidation and ongoing reform of State-owned enterprises combined to produce the bumper figure.

There were 4,559 deals completed by the end of June, a 10 percent rise on the second half of last year.

Overall, deals were worth 60 percent more than the previous period, and private equity deals also grew strongly in value, by 62 percent.

The M&A deals in the first half made by private equity investors were worth $62.4 billion, another half-year record, said Leon Qian, transaction services leader for North China at PwC China.

"Technology, financial services and real estate were the hot sectors, each nearly doubling in size since the end of last year," said Qian, adding the government's plans to boost technology and innovation within its overall economic transition were a key driver for the growth.

Real estate developers have also been in need of fresh capital, said Qian, while financial services companies have worked hard to meet the growing needs of the local retail sector and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Renminbi-denominated funds were especially active dealmakers, said the report, buoyed by money earned on the A-share market. Technology deals, particularly Internet related, were the most popular target among PE investors.

China's outbound M&A deals also reached new heights.

The number of overseas deals completed increased 17 percent on the previous period to a record 174 for the half year. They were worth $27.2 billion, up by 24 percent. Privately owned enterprises continued to lead the charge.

"Private companies are looking overseas primarily for new products and technologies that they can bring back to the domestic market as it becomes more and more driven by consumer demand," said Carol Wu, PwC China's transaction services partner.

Wu said the international deals were also being made as a way of expanding into new markets, with Australia and Asia often the first stops for emerging multinationals.

PwC said it expected the rate of China's M&A activity to slow slightly in the second half because of problems in the equity markets, but the full-year is likely to be a record.

It said over the next six to 12 months, technology is likely to remain especially active, partly because of continued strong government backing.

But transactions will also be driven by sector consolidation and the ambitious acquisition strategies of industry leaders, such as Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

The A-share market turbulence could dampen PE investment activity in the second half, said the report, and exits are also likely to slow, for the same reason.

"But we expect outbound PE and financial buyer investment to continue to grow and A-share market turbulence also means small and medium-sized enterprises are likely to turn to private equity as an alternative source of equity capital," said Qian.

The report suggested that outbound M&As will continue to grow steadily in the second half, driven by a sizeable cadre of increasingly experienced Chinese mainland buyers of overseas assets.

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