Economists are confident that global transactions will continue to grow rapidly next year after a historic year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, which was largely fueled by the availability of cheap loans and bullish stock markets.
2021 is the year of mergers and acquisitions: how a trader can use this information
According to the research company Dealogic, the global volume of mergers and acquisitions exceeded $5 trillion for the first time in history. The previous record was $4.55 trillion in 2007. According to Refinitiv, the total value of mergers and acquisitions in 2021 amounted to $5.8 trillion, which is 64% more than a year earlier.
In 2021, large buyout funds, corporations, and financiers, who gained access to cash and were encouraged by the rapid growth of stock markets, concluded 62,193 transactions, which is 24% more than a year earlier, as record figures fell during each month of the year.
Investment bankers expect that the rush to conclude deals will continue next year, despite the impending increase in interest rates.
Higher interest rates increase the cost of borrowing, which may slow down the activity in the field of mergers and acquisitions. However, transaction consultants still expect a flurry of large mergers to occur in 2022.
The soft monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve System provoked the growth of the stock market and provided the management of companies with access to cheap financing, which, in turn, encouraged them to achieve major goals.
In terms of regions, the United States was in the lead. They account for almost half of global volumes - the cost of mergers and acquisitions has almost doubled to $2.5 trillion in 2021, despite a tougher antitrust environment under the Biden administration.
The biggest deals of the year included AT&T Inc's $43 billion deal to merge its media business with Discovery Inc; the $34 billion buyouts of Medline Industries Inc; the $31 billion deal between Canadian Pacific Railway, which is in Warren Buffett's portfolio, with Kansas City Southern; and the breakup of American giant corporations General Electric Co and Johnson & Johnson.
According to a survey of transaction participants and consultants, more than two-thirds of respondents believe that the volume of transactions will grow, despite the problems associated with regulations and the pandemic.
Transactions in sectors such as technology, finance, industry, energy, and electricity accounted for the bulk of mergers and acquisitions. According to Refinitiv, this year the buyout financed by private investment companies has more than doubled and exceeded the $1 trillion mark for the first time.
Despite the slowdown in activity in the second half of the year, the conclusion of deals involving special purpose companies further increased the volume of mergers and acquisitions in 2021. SPAC deals accounted for about 10% of global mergers and acquisitions, and they added several billion dollars to the total.
Such information is very useful to traders who are interested in trading stocks. Since acquisitions always indicate inflows of finance, usually after the announcement of the transaction, the shares go up. So, John Outers, one of the leading analysts at Bloomberg and, in the past, the Financial Times, recommends buying stocks and corporate bonds of such companies this year.
In addition, mergers guarantee an increase in liquidity, which the markets necessarily take into account when evaluating certain aggregate assets. Therefore, if you are interested in the stock market, start with conglomerates that have spent money on mergers and acquisitions this year – these companies have a good rating, financial profile and will be an excellent acquisition.
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