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The Impact of Geopolitical Instability on Cross-Border M&A

Home » Insights » The Impact of Geopolitical Instability on Cross-Border M&A

The Impact of Geopolitical Instability on Cross-Border M&A

by Khadija Tahir

With greater protectionist actions by governments, executives still expect cross-border mergers and acquisitions to be the major theme of M&A in the next 12 months. For many companies, dealing in a globalized market is a necessity. Technology is connecting companies with customers across the globe and growth plans are no longer country-centric.

A strong presence of private equity (PE) in the deal markets is also by executives. This trend began to accelerate. There has been an increase in the size of deals involving PE. As well as more situations where PE and corporates collaborate on deals across many sectors and geographies.

If executives are comfortable buying abroad, they are becoming equally open to buying across traditional sector lines. With convergence a major driver, executives expect to see more cross-industry deals in the near term.

Regardless of heightened protectionism and new rules governing cross-border dealmaking. Companies are increasingly looking across the globe for innovative assets and access to new customers.

Surprisingly, both the US and Western Europe have tightened oversight on inbound acquisitions. They come out as the clear destinations of choice for executives. The key to transforming portfolios will be accessing or acquiring the right intellectual property in these regions.

The existence of geopolitical friction is not to Chinese-US transactions. It is common that target countries resort to different economic levers such as national champion-promoting policies to oppose a cross-border acquisition or to obtain more favorable deal conditions for the target country.

Such M&A protectionism prevents the risk of nationally beneficial high-tech assets by foreign countries. Countries such as the US can maintain their edge in foreign affairs by maintaining technological superiority and preventing military-industrial arms races. Public intervention can also protect jobs and keep innovation at home. For corporations, this can ensure the continuity of good corporate governance that could be changed by a less developed foreign acquirer. It can also be beneficial to the target’s shareholders. When international relations are strained. Target companies are also better to defend themselves against an acquisition that is unfavorable, through the intervention (or the threat of intervention) from public authorities. This also leads to increased bargaining power during any negotiations that may follow.

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