In this episode of S&C’s Critical Insights, Senior M&A Partner Frank Aquila and Global Head of M&A Melissa Sawyer discuss major takeaways from M&A in 2022 and potential developments for 2023.
Following a record-setting year in 2021, a numbers of factors at the beginning of 2022, including soaring inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical events, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, led to some of the slowest quarters in M&A globally since the onset of the pandemic.
The regulatory landscape for mergers has also shifted, both in the United States and globally, with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice under the Biden administration taking a more aggressive approach to antitrust enforcement, especially in the labor, agriculture, healthcare and tech sectors. Despite the agencies’ willingness to bring enforcement actions and litigation against proposed mergers, judges have frequently relied upon existing precedent to rule in favor of merging companies.
De-SPAC transactions have seen increased focus as well, both from regulators and litigants, resulting in the demise of SPACs throughout last year, which is expected to continue into 2023 and beyond.
Despite a general slowdown, several factors may lead to an uptick in activity in the first quarter of 2023, such as the strength of the U.S. dollar, a continued push for M&A activity by activists in the United States and abroad, the death of potential antitrust bills in Congress and the shift to more realistic projections from potential target companies, which make it more likely for buyers to make attractive offers.