M&A outlook improves but the next few months looks uneven across industries

BCG report reveals slower pace of recovery than expected so far in 2024

M&A outlook improves but the next few months looks uneven across industries
Steve Randall

Mergers and acquisitions across industries have seen some recovery in the first half of 2024, but questions remain about how the rest of the year will unfold.

While H1 2024 improved on the same period of the previous year, a new report from Boston Consulting Group highlights a slower-than-expected pace of recovery and an uneven outlook for the months ahead.

“M&A has become part of every CEO’s strategy toolkit,” said Jens Kengelbach, BCG’s global leader of M&A. “Yet amid economic uncertainty, concerns about inflation and monetary policy, and regulatory and geopolitical headwinds, it’s harder than ever for decision makers to formulate reliable plans.”

BCG’s new monthly M&A Sentiment Index indicates a stronger appetite for deals in the coming months, this is not universal with Europe leading sentiment while APAC is less keen along with businesses in the industrials sector.

The first half of 2024 saw $1 trillion of M&A activity with a total value of $647 billion for deals involving a target in the Americas, an increase of approximately 14% versus the first half of 2023, and accounting for 61% of overall global M&A activity. The 10 year average annual M&A value is $1.5 trillion.

Telecoms, media, and technology saw aggregate deal value rise 39% while financial services and real estate (26%) and energy (23%) also did well.

The industries that are set to see increased M&A activity in the next few years include those connected to AI and emerging technologies and those focused on ESG and the transition to energy transition. Firms will be looking to bolster their capabilities through acquisition.