Global M&A deal values reached $467bn for the first two months of 2019 according to new analysis from Deloitte.
However, the research predicts a slowdown of between 4-7% in M&A deal volumes by the end of the first quarter of 2019, compared to the first quarter of 2018. The prospect of a US-China trade war and a rise in economic and political uncertainties are weighing on the M&A markets.
Companies spent $217bn acquiring disruptive and innovative technologies last year, an increase of 28% over previous year. While digital and analytics are the largest segments, there has been a sharp increase in fintech, cyber and healthtech. Deloitte analysis also shows companies have spent $877bn since 2015 acquiring disruptive technologies and using them to capture innovation-led growth.
This follows the announcement that cross-border deals involving North West companies have doubled in the last year, with the region’s businesses completing transactions worth £6.6bn in 2018 – more than four times that seen the year before. In total, 120 deals were completed last year, representing twice the 59 finalised in 2017.
Gavin Hood, partner at Deloitte in Scotland, commented: “The last five years have witnessed an unprecedented bull run in the global M&A markets, leading to significant increase in cross-border activity in Scotland and the UK more generally.
“The $1.2tr worth of cross-border deals done globally last year reinforces the trend we have seen in Scotland for a number of years where cross border deal flows remain strong, in particular driven by activities by US acquirers.
“Disruptive technologies are transforming industries and laying bare well-established business models. This is driving a fundamental shift in M&A strategy, where the non-tech sector has overtaken the tech sector in acquiring technology assets. Two years ago 60% of such disruptive technology assets were acquired by the non-tech sector.”