M&A activity for 2022 – another strong year
Our 2022 M&A outlook surveyed many of Ireland’s leading executives and M&A advisers for their insights on trends for the year ahead. The results show that a majority (58%) of M&A leaders expect higher deal volumes in 2022, following a record year in 2021.
As buyer competition intensifies, three quarters of respondents (75%) believe 2022 will be a sellers’ market, with financial as opposed to strategic buyers leading the charge in deal activity.
Ongoing COVID-19 Impact
With a majority (58%) expecting 2022 deal volumes to increase above 2021 levels, and a further 41% expect deal levels to remain at buoyant 2021 heights, and only 1% expecting a decline in deal volumes this year, this is a strong signal of confidence despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
In terms of factors negatively impacting deal making, respondents cited a human capital / skills gaps (39%), concerns regarding inflation (25%), political change (15%) and rising interest rates (11%) to be the primary factors likely to inhibit deal activity in 2022. Interestingly, just 10% considered Brexit to be a factor that could potentially negatively impact deal activity this year.
“ Dealmakers are optimistic of a continued uptick in deal volumes while sellers have raised their value expectations as buyers chase quality assets. Private equity is still flush with funding and will likely retain a competitive edge as 2022 unfolds. ”
58% of respondents anticipate 2022 deal volumes to increase above 2021 levels. 2021 was a buoyant year for M&A, this trend is set to continue driven by the availability of capital and strong business confidence.
Buyers’ or Sellers’ Market
75% of M&A leaders expect 2022 to be a sellers’ market driven by continued competition for high quality targets amongst both international and domestic investors. This is consistent with participants' expectations that deal multiples will continue to increase.
73% of M&A leaders expect deal multiples to increase in 2022. Strategic and financial buyers continue to compete for high quality assets, with persistent interest from international players. Private equity continues to sit on substantial dry powder.
In line with 2021, it is not surprising that Technology and Healthcare are expected to be the most active sectors. Tech enabled assets continue to be highly sought after to support long term value creation. Respondents also expect an increase in energy and infrastructure M&A with many investors increasing their focus on the ESG agenda.
92% of participants will factor sustainability into their 2022 M&A considerations. ESG will increasingly impact decision making as operating models become subject to more stringent sustainability requirements.