Gilbert + Tobin has released its Takeovers + Schemes Review for 2021, providing an in-depth analysis of 2020’s public M&A transactions valued over $50 million and the trends that will ignite increased deal activity throughout 2021.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 had an initial chilling effect on M&A. However, as the Review highlights, the ensuing stock market and asset price falls created opportunities for those with financial capacity to engage in strategic acquisitions. This delivered a material increase in deal activity in the last quarter of 2020.

Overall analysis of the public M&A market showed a significant jump in the aggregate value of transactions, up from $25 billion in 2019 to $32.8 billion in 2020. The energy & resources sector had the greatest revival both in terms of value and number of deals announced last year.

Commenting on the Review, Neil Pathak, Partner and Co-head of G+T’s M&A / Corporate practice said while uncertainty in Australian and global markets will continue to shape the M&A landscape, the economic recovery is well underway.

“We are three months into 2021 and the market is showing strong signs that we are on the cusp of a roaring ‘20s of M&A. We expect that the combination of successful adaption of flexible and remote working, technology advances, cheap debt funding, rallying of financial markets and the rollout of vaccines will result in increased deal activity throughout 2021.”

Costas Condoleon, Partner and Co-head of G+T’s M&A / Corporate practice added that from adversity rises opportunity.

“There was a notable increase in the involvement of superannuation and pension funds in Australian public M&A in 2020. Private capital and private equity activity remains high, with confidence of good years to come.”

The 2021 Review also features detailed analysis and insights on emerging issues in the M&A landscape including the involvement of foreign bidders, the impact of COVID-19 on bid structuring and conditions and regulatory priorities of key agencies including FIRB, ASIC, APRA and the ACCC.