Mergers and acquisitions at seven-year high

Mergers and acquisitions of companies valued over $50 million reached a seven-year high in 2018, with total transactions valued at $48.7 billion, according to a report from law firm Gilbert + Tobin.

According to Gilbert + Tobin partner Neil Pathak, 2018 saw increased activity from foreign buyers, with international transactions – especially from North America and Asia – being substantially larger than domestic transactions.

Private equity firms also played a bigger role in mergers and acquisitions last year.

“Cashed up private equity firms were highly acquisitive, willing to deploy approximately $13.6 billion on targets in a range of sectors,” Pathak said.

Within the retail and consumer services space, 34 per cent of transactions took place by private equity firms – with the $675 million deal for Greencross, and $826 million for Restaurant Brands coming from such offers.

In fact, the report found that retail and consumer services were a space that was seemingly targeted by private equity, followed by real estate, healthcare and energy and resources.

Retail and consumer services acquisitions made up 12 per cent of all transactions, and contributed 8 per cent of total value of transactions over the course of the year.

Apax Partners’ proposed acquisition of online marketplace Trade Me was listed as the most successful (pending) transaction by value in the retail sector, being worth $2.39 billion.

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