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Transcript of INSIGHTS - Allen & Overy Q1 200 Q1 2007 Q1 2008 Q1 2009 Q1 2010 Q1 2011 Q1 2012 Q1 2013 Q1 201...

  • M&A INSIGHTS | Q1 2019 Navigating complexity to sustain growth

  • Global M&A Q1 2019 snapshot 3

    Global trends in private M&A 4

    Investors face rapid proliferation of national interest tests 6

    Antitrust authorities maintain the pressure on dealmakers 9

    Digitalisation and innovation provide new fuel for M&A deals 12


    Contact us Please get in touch for more information about our global M&A practice and how we can support you on domestic deals and your most complex multi-jurisdictional transactions:

    Richard Browne Partner – Global Co-Head, Corporate/M&A Tel +44 20 3088 3256

    Dirk Meeus Partner – Global Co-Head, Corporate/M&A Tel +32 2780 2432

    Connect with us






    M&A Insights | Q1 2019 | Navigating complexity to sustain growth2

    © Allen & Overy LLP 2019

  • Turning point or pause for breath?








    Q1 2019 Q1 2018Q1 2017Q1 2016Q1 2015Q1 2014Q1 2013Q1 2012Q1 2011Q1 2010Q1 2009Q1 2008Q1 2007Q1 2006

    Global deals by value (USDmillion)

    Global deals by volume (USDmillion)







    0 460,756 656,599418,391 429,656 443,674 551,109 645,660 630,276 668,268 1,047,606 805,889


    10,008 9,944

    8,147 8,737








    8,377 8,529


    decrease in global deal value Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018

    decrease in global deal volume Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018

    Note: these figures represent deals announced between 1 January 2019 and 22 March 2019

    Commentators have wondered for some time when the deal market would end its record-breaking bull run. The question is whether the latest data marks that turning point or a temporary pause for breath before the market picks up again.

    Deal values and volumes declined across most regions and sectors, with megadeals – the mainstay of the market in recent quarters – also down. In volume terms, cross-border deals had their slowest start to the year since 2009.

    At a time of geo-political turbulence, trade tensions and, more importantly, signs of slowing global growth, it’s fair to expect M&A markets to become unsettled.

    Yet we are seeing a different picture – one of continuing resilience. Businesses remain eager to do deals, whether that’s transformational strategic deals, technology-driven transactions or IPOs. There’s a good supply of assets for sale, with auctions continuing to attract PE and strategic players. We are even seeing hostile takeovers, usually a reliable indicator of market strength and investor confidence. In this latest edition we examine some of these market trends.

    The Q1 data could therefore reflect a moment of pause after the frenetic activity we saw in the first half of 2018, rather than a sign the market is going into retreat. All eyes will be on the data for Q2.

    Global M&A Q1 2019 snapshot

    Data provided by

    23% 33%


  • Allen & Overy’s annual study of the private M&A market – based on in-depth analysis of more than 1,000 deals we’ve advised on over the last seven years – showed growing levels of auction activity in 2018, with confident sellers gaining the upper hand on deal terms.

    Increase in auction activity Auction activity has increased steadily over recent years. But in 2018, for the first time, more than half the private M&A deals we advised on were conducted as auctions, with the figure rising sharply from 41% in 2017 to 53% last year. Sellers will only contemplate an auction if they believe they can attract significant competition for their assets, so this was a strong indicator of market confidence.

    PE funds continued to win a high proportion of auctions – some 46% of those in our sample. Part of this success comes from a continuation of strategies that emerged a number of years ago. Buy and build, for example, means that many sponsors already have large portfolio companies they can merge targets into, achieving synergies that allow them to compete with strategic bidders on price. Last year, 60% of the auctions in our sample that were won by a PE bidder were bolt-on transactions of this type. Many more represented the first stage of a buy and build strategy – an initial investment to which further businesses would be added.

    Despite their dominance, PE funds are now facing greater competition for assets as the universe of potential buyers expands. While sovereign wealth and pension funds were once happy to invest through, or alongside, PE, some have now established teams to source and execute deals in their own right.

    Deals conducted by auction

    Execution risk rises Our analysis over recent years has shown the deal environment becoming riskier, with transactions more likely to require antitrust, foreign investment or regulatory clearance. This is mostly down to merger control regimes becoming stricter and more numerous, foreign investment regimes getting tougher, and regulators becoming more active. However, it may also indicate that buyers are receptive to doing riskier deals – something that typically happens in a maturing M&A cycle.

    Execution risk continued to rise in 2018, with 85% of our deals worth more than USD250 million requiring some form of clearance – an increase of 8% on the previous year.

    This means that, in reality, most sellers now have to accept some conditionality. Last year, they seemed willing to do so where the substantive risk of a failed deal was low, particularly if the buyer backed its ‘low risk’ assessment with an element of deal protection.

    Protections are typically either financial or behavioural, with a reverse break fee payable by the buyer to the seller the primary example of the former. Last year, 13% of our conditional deals provided for one of these, with the average fee some 6% of deal value.

    On the behavioural side, “hell or high water” commitments are increasingly common. These require a buyer to take all necessary action to get clearance, and last year 26% of the deals in our sample with an antitrust condition included one. PE sellers, in particular, insisted on them.

    Antitrust, foreign investment or regulatory approval (Deal value USD250m+)

    Global trends in private M&A






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    M&A Insights | Q1 2019 | Navigating complexity to sustain growth4

    © Allen & Overy LLP 2019

  • Digital transformation leads to more earn-outs Companies across sectors are increasingly using transactions to speed their digital transformation programmes or to ‘acquihire’ talented individuals with important digital skills. As a by-product of this we saw a rise in the use of earn-outs, designed to retain and incentivise founders and management shareholders or to share risk and reward in a new technology.

    Earn-out (% of deals)

    Advantage seller Sellers gained an increasing upper hand in the private M&A market in 2018, but that only becomes truly apparent when you look closely at changes in deal terms.

    These include mechanisms designed to delay the passing of risk to the buyer ahead of closing such as material adverse change provisions, pre-closing termination rights for material breach of warranty, and warranty repetition (giving a buyer the right to claim damages if a warranty is incorrect at closing). Globally, we saw a sharp decline in the use of the first two mechanisms and a slight decrease in warranty repetition during the year.

    We’ve also seen warranty cover diluted (including by more data room disclosure and consequential loss exclusions, and high levels of materiality and knowledge qualifiers), lower financial caps on the seller’s liability, and shorter terms for transitional services arrangements.

    Taking a global view ignores the inevitable differences between market practice in different regions, but it does show the balance swinging in favour of sellers. As we move through a potentially far more uncertain M&A market in 2019, it remains to be seen whether that advantage will hold or if buyers will begin to push harder on deal terms in the months ahead.

    W&I insurance continues to grow Over the last few years, we have seen an explosion in the use of warranty and indemnity (W&I) insurance in PE exits. This trend continued in 2018, with the product used in some 70% of the PE exits we advised on globally.

    W&I insurance started in Australia, but quickly caught on in the UK and Western Europe – the regions where it remains most popular. Although later to the party, the U.S. is now seeing greater use of W&I insurance though premiums tend to be considerably higher. Even in markets