International M&A market slows in 2022 first half–but reveals indicators of power

September 30, 2022

After hovering to an all-time peak in 2021, the worldwide M&A market has hit the pause button. Early 2022 noticed the worth of huge offers (greater than $25 million) fall 24 % from a yr earlier, on a 12 % drop in deal quantity.

However the 2022 numbers match wholesome, prepandemic ranges and are particularly notable in a time of nice uncertainty. Geopolitical instability, spiking inflation, provide chain points, skittish capital markets, regulatory adjustments—all these components, and extra, are fueling uncertainty. And as Andy West, world coleader of McKinsey’s M&A Follow, says, “Uncertainty all the time weighs on choice making, and M&A is a giant choice for deal makers. So naturally we’re seeing a little bit of a slowdown.”

In accordance with the McKinsey M&A Follow evaluation of the worldwide M&A market, 2022 exercise has declined, however solely barely. Deal makers within the Americas have been probably the most energetic merchants, delivering virtually half of worldwide deal worth (48 %, versus 52 % for all of 2021). Europe, the Center East, and Africa’s share is up barely (28 %, versus 26 %), as is Asia–Pacific’s share (24 %, versus 22 %).

The heavy hitters of 2021 stay the dominant deal makers of 2022. The expertise, media, and telecommunications sector (TMT) has outperformed different industries—accounting for 30 % of complete deal worth (lagging its 32 % in 2021 however practically matching its 2020 efficiency of 31 %). The subsequent two largest sectors in M&A path far behind—actual property at 13 % and industrials at 11 %.

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Logic means that an unsure market would encourage extra small and fewer giant offers. However 2022 has thus far seen as many mega offers just like the TMT acquisitions as 2021. Mega offers account for 28 % of 2022 deal worth versus 23 % a yr earlier.

Non-public fairness (PE) companies are likewise outpacing their record-setting 2021 efficiency. Their exercise within the first half of 2022 delivered 26 % of deal worth (up from 25 % for all of final yr), with no slowdown in sight. As Oliver Engert, senior accomplice and a frontrunner of McKinsey’s M&A Follow, notes, “PE invested over $2 trillion in 2021. But they nonetheless have trillions in dry powder left to spend, and that shall be a extremely necessary contributor to the M&A market.” That firepower could also be influencing the 2022 rise in premiums to 41 %, up from 35 % for all of 2021.

Whereas M&A exercise has slowed from final yr’s torrid tempo, Oliver finds a constructive be aware on this change in tempo. “With a barely slower market, you may take your time to actually perceive the drivers of the asset that you just’re contemplating. You possibly can domesticate the administration workforce and the workers that you’re about to embrace and create one thing that’s much better than merely a ‘transaction.’”

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The slower tempo additionally creates house to recharge, rethink, and renew. Many deal groups ended 2021 frazzled by the nonstop motion. And lots of firms must replicate on the impression of as we speak’s unsure market on their enterprise, from their technique to their provide chain, their stability sheet, their entry to capital, and their portfolio, Andy says, including, “Within the context we’re in as we speak, for many firms these issues have modified. And the actual danger isn’t recognizing it. So, my recommendation is to take a tough take a look at your technique, perceive what’s totally different as we speak than it may need been a month, 1 / 4, or a yr in the past, and ask your self, does that change both how I do M&A or the place I’m going to focus my M&A technique?”

Andy and Oliver stay bullish on the programmatic methods which have weathered greater than a decade of M&A cycles. They specific confidence that these methods will proceed to outperform in 2022. However additionally they spotlight the significance of energetic portfolio administration and automobiles like joint ventures and alliances to deal with the unsure market.

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With these circumstances, getting the basics of deal execution proper is extra necessary than ever. “Worth seize is de facto necessary in a market like this as a result of we have now to mitigate the headwinds that firms face: rising commodity costs, rising power costs, rising labor prices,” Oliver says. “In consequence, we have now to get way more particular, way more correct, and doubtless go far deeper in worth creation.” Capturing most worth requires having the precise group design, working mannequin, expertise, and tradition.

Worth seize is de facto necessary in a market like this as a result of we have now to mitigate the headwinds that firms face: rising commodity costs, rising power costs, rising labor prices.



Oliver Engert


Treating the slower tempo of M&A exercise as a chance to revisit and refresh the basics ought to place deal makers in one of the best place in 2022 and past.