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Global M&A Outlook H1 2019

While deal values and volumes are trending downwards in most regions and sectors, investors are still willing to set political and regulatory uncertainty aside to execute big, strategic transactions when opportunities arise. That suggests that activity should remain relatively robust in the months ahead, despite a more challenging deal environment.

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The raw data point clearly to a decline in M&A activity across regions and most sectors in the first half of the year. Cross-border activity and the prevalence of mega-deals are also on a downward trend. Yet the picture is a little less stark than the numbers suggest.

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The Rise of Digital Acquisitions

Acquiring digital companies has become increasingly commonplace, with 2018 being no exception. The year has already seen a number of digital companies acquired, and these were not necessarily by those who operate in the same sector. Traditional retailers, for example, have been acquisitive in this area, particularly as they wish to gain access to next generation technology, as well as new capabilities.

Examples include Nordstrom, which acquired two digital companies, BevyUp and MessageYes. BevyUp facilitates communication between sales associates and encourages shoppers to share information with each other. MessageYes sends personalised notifications to shoppers, allowing brands to text customers.

Another traditional retailer also pursuing digital companies is Target, which acquired Shipt and has assisted it with offering a same-day delivery service.

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