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Is More M&A Activity on the Docket for H2 2024?

Is More M&A Activity on the Docket for H2 2024?

Posted June 17, 2024 at 10:15 am
Christine Short
Wall Street Horizon

After global M&A activity reached a decade low in 2023, dealmakers were banking on a rebound in 2024. So far that hasn’t quite come to fruition when considering the total number of deal announcements which fell nearly 8% YoY in Q1​. Yet, thanks to a barrage of megadeals (those larger than $10B), Q1 did see an increase in volume to $549B, a 28% uptick from 2023.1

As we enter the second half of the year, however, there’s been renewed hope for an M&A comeback, starting with Waste Management’s (WM) $7.2B acquisition of Stericycle (SRCL) earlier this month. There’s also the drama around Paramount’s (PARA) acquisition by Skydance, a deal that’s not quite firmed up as other potential buyers are reportedly looking to make a play for the languishing studio.

Total M&A Announcements for 2024

With just two weeks left in the second quarter, M&A announcements are still looking pretty light on a quarterly basis at only 78. If no more announcements are made in June, this would be the worst performing quarter since Q2 2020, when the world was in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The largest deal announced in Q2 was ConocoPhillip’s (COP) acquisition of Marathon Oil (MRO) in an all stock deal valued at $22.5 billion. There was also Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) acquisition of Shockwave Medical (SWAV) to the tune of $13.1 billion and Blackstone’s (BX) deal to take Apartment Income REIT (AIRC) private for $10B.

Total M&A announcements

Source: Wall Street Horizon. Note: only includes M&A announcements in which the target company was public.

The Bottom Line

While global M&A activity had a record year in 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sheer number of deals being announced has been tepid for the last two years as high interest rates and inflation make the cost of doing business more expensive. High interest rates have increased borrowing costs and made it more difficult for companies to finance acquisitions, meaning management teams are being more selective with how they allocate capital. However, we’re starting to see inflation cool, with May’s Consumer Price Index coming in lower than expected last Wednesday.2 And as far as interest rates are concerned, both markets and the FOMC expect rates to decline over the next year. The current expectation is for a September rate cut of 25 basis points according to the CME Group FedWatch tool, followed by an additional 25 basis point rate cut at the December meeting.3 If both of these continue to trend lower it should open up the probability of more deal-making towards the end of 2024 and into 2025.

Originally Posted June 17, 2024 – Is More M&A Activity on the Docket for H2 2024?

1 Global M&A By the Numbers: Q1 2024, Joseph Toomey, May 23, 2024, https://www.spglobal.com
2 CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – MAY 2024, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 12, 2024, https://www.bls.gov
3 CME FedWatch Tool, June 14, 2024, https://www.cmegroup.com

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