Aussie public M&A deals lower in 2016 financial year

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Aussie public M&A deals lower in 2016 financial year
The volume of public M&A deals in Australia was lower in the 2016 financial year but the outlook for 2017 appears better.

The latest assessment of the market by Herbert Smith Freehills shows that there were 50 public M&A deals in the 12 months to June 30 2016 compared to 55 and 77 respectively in the previous two financial years.

“We saw a number of big ticket transactions being announced at the beginning of FY16 and we expected that level of activity to continue throughout the remainder of the year,” commented HSF partner Paul Branston who co-authored the report. “However, activity tailed off in the third quarter and never fully recovered, meaning overall activity levels were relatively low.”

There were seven mega-deals during the period, the same as the previous financial year, but the value was higher (AU$27 billion vs. $22.4 bn) partly due to the competition for Asciano.

The increased level of competition was a factor in the year’s deals especially in the $100-$500 million category and there was also a rise in bidders from North America who made up 27 per cent.

While there are potential headwinds for 2017, the overall outlook is positive, according to the report.

“The economic climate remains conducive to M&A in Australia, with modest domestic growth rates driving companies to look to M&A for growth. What’s more, continuing low commodity prices, the low Australian dollar and low interest rates will continue to drive interest in Australian assets from overseas,” Branston added.
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