Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2021 was a busy year for dealmakers. Overall, global deals amounted to $5.9T, effortlessly exceeding the previous year’s figure by 64% and breaking the 2015 tally by almost $1.5T.
2021 was especially a blowout year for M&A deals, with in excess of 63K deals accomplished worldwide. This was 24% more than 2020, with the US dominating the market and securing 82% of the deals.
Public equity markets also displayed strength and confidence throughout 2021, with public companies significantly increasing their buying power. The financial services industry, in particular, exhibited calculated aggressiveness, acquiring FinTech and digital startups to remain at pace with consumers' and businesses' vigorous technology adoption initiatives.
Let’s dive into the numbers a little deeper
In the M&A space, the surge in activity was largely buoyed by high-value deals in the technology sector, coupled by gains made by mid-market deals (between $1B-$5B). The upsurge in SPACs also played a key role.
Additionally, megadeals (transactions at $5B and higher) increased from 111 in the previous year to 181 in 2021.
Despite losing steam in 4Q21, the M&A space managed to keep a six-quarter streak of registering more than $1T worth of mega deals.
Regionally, the US dominated the M&A industry in 2021, fueled by an 82% yoy growth to reach $2.6T. Other major regions enjoyed substantial growth as well. Europe's M&A gains reached $1.4T while Asia-Pacific followed closely with a $1.3T tally. Both regions enjoyed significant yoy gains, 46% and 48%, respectively.
Technology continues to be M&A’s largest sector, representing more than one-fifth of global M&A transactional value, which is spurred by a 71% growth.
There were 13,768 completed tech deals valued at $1.15T in 2021, representing a 34% increase from the previous year. It should be noted that Technology has remained the leading M&A sector by number of deals for the last 8 years. Tech deals have reached a peak in 2Q21 at a 3,693 number of deals and have declined noticeably since then, closing 4Q21 at 2,955 in number of deals.
2022: Fierce Competition Ahead
The current dealmaking environment is charged with excitement and enthusiasm. Dealmakers are in for more transactions as players are reportedly fiscally stacked for serious deal action in 2022.
Brian Levy, Global Deals Industries Leader, Partner, PwC US pronounced: "Deal-making will likely remain robust in 2022, with fierce competition among corporates, PE and SPACs," but then cautioned "Dealmakers must pay close attention to potential deal disruptors such as financial market volatility and macroeconomic headwinds."
Looking ahead, the M&A sector is expecting clear skies and fair winds in 2022. More than 80% of business leaders have expressed confidence that the recovering economy, along with unhindered access to capital and low interest rates, will all contribute to soaring valuations in their respective industries in 2022.
According to PwC, SPACs remain significant role players in 2022. Nearly 500 SPACs are still waiting to complete a deal by late 2022 or early 2023.
Given the positive outlook for the dealmaking space in 2022, it's imperative for dealmaking teams and clients to innovate their processes, accelerate time and resource-intensive tasks to pursue the best deals and capitalize on great investment opportunities the moment they break the surface.
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