August 25, 2020

Global Dealmakers Optimistic About 2H as M&A Market Shows Signs of Recovery

Positive Outlook and Consumer Confidence Driving Market Uptick, Though Restructuring Is Also Expected to Dominate Activity

Due Diligence Tech Remains Key to Completing Deals Remotely

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. –  August 25, 2020 – Global dealmakers are optimistic about the outlook for this year’s second half, spurred by a rebound in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) following a decline in the first half, according to a series of polls conducted by Datasite ®, the leading SaaS-technology provider for the global M&A community, and Mergermarket, the mergers and acquisitions intelligence company.

More than 600 dealmakers polled across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific (APAC) between June and August said optimism and consumer confidence, ahead of restructuring, are driving the M&A market recovery.

“The results mirror what we’ve been seeing in real time on our M&A platform, which facilitates close to 10,000 deals a year,” said Rusty Wiley, CEO of Datasite. “We started to see activity pick up in June, especially from strategic buyers and a resurgence from the middle market, which has continued through the summer. If conditions continue to improve, the combination of new and relaunched deals, as well as a steady stream of restructurings, should drive strong deal volumes in the second half of 2020.”

Regionally, dealmakers diverge on M&A recovery drivers

Within EMEA, dealmakers across the CCE region (37%) and Benelux (53%) cited optimism and consumer confidence as the primary recovery driver, followed by restructuring (30% CCE, 27% Benelux), a government stimulus plan (17% CCE, 11% Benelux), and pent-up demand (11% CCE, 9% Benelux). In contrast, dealmakers in Italy, Portugal and Spain (44%), and the Middle East (47%), found restructuring to be the main factor driving recovery. In Italy, Portugal and Spain, this was followed by optimism/consumer confidence (31%), pent-up demand (19%), and a government stimulus plan (6%); while dealmakers in the Middle East cited a stimulus plan (32%), and optimism/consumer confidence (21%).

Similarly, APAC dealmakers in Southeast Asia (SEA) & India, Australia and New Zealand (AZN), and China differed in their market outlook. Most M&A professionals polled in SEA & India (56%) and China (45%) had a positive M&A market outlook, while dealmakers in the AZN region were more skeptical, with 46% or taking a neutral stance, compared to 32% who said they had a positive outlook on the market.

In the Americas, dealmakers said that both deal volume and distressed activity are on the rise. Americas respondents expect bankruptcies (38%) to be the main driver of M&A activity in H2 2020, followed by PE dry powder (34%), corporate acquisitions (15%), and defensive carve-outs (13%). They also cited retail (49%), energy (26%), industrials (21%), and utilities (3%), as the sectors with the best opportunities for distressed M&A, mirroring activity on the Datasite platform.

When asked more about distressed M&A, most Americas dealmakers said less than 5% of their portfolio was targeted toward distressed assets (36%), followed by between 20%-50% (21%), greater than 50% (17%) and between 5%-20% (17%); while 10% of respondents have begun to divest from distressed assets.

Restructuring to include divestitures and carve outs in EMEA, while APAC eyes asset purchases and sales

In EMEA, second half activity is expected come in the form of divestitures and carve-outs. All dealmakers (31% CCE, 43% Benelux, 38% Italy, Portugal, Spain, 55% Middle East) said this type of restructuring activity would dominate over the next 24 months. However, beyond this type of restructuring, EMEA M&A professionals reflected some regional differences. In the CCE, dealmakers said liquidation (23%), debt-financing (18%), and non-performing loans (NPLs) (7%) would be the next most prevalent, with 20% of those surveyed saying restructuring won’t be important. In Benelux, deal makers expect debt-financing (26%) to be the second most widespread type of restructuring activity, followed by liquidation (15%), and NPLs (13%), with 2% saying restructuring lacked importance. Dealmakers in Italy, Portugal and Spain also predicted debt-financing would follow divestitures and carve-outs (34%), followed by bankruptcy/administration (19%), and NPLs (9%). Finally, in the Middle East region, dealmakers said debt-financing (25%) would be the second most dominant form of M&A restructuring, with NPLs (9%), bankruptcy/administration (5%), liquidation (5%) following; 2% of respondents said restructuring won’t be important.

This contrasts with dealmakers in APAC, who said that asset purchase/sales would dominate market activity in the next 12 months (SEA & India 40%, AZN 45%, China 40%). Additionally, like EMEA dealmakers, APAC dealmakers also reflected regional difference in what they see as the next most prominent type of M&A activity. After asset purchases/sales, dealmakers in SEA & India said that mergers (22%), bankruptcy (19%), fundraising (18%), and loan syndication would be the next most prominent transactions, while AZN dealmakers said fundraising (20%), bankruptcy (19%), mergers (9%), loan syndication (5%), and audits and IPO (each 1%), would be the next most widespread. In China, dealmakers cited fundraising (19%), mergers (12%), bankruptcy and IPOs (each 10%), loan syndication (7%), and audits (1%) as the next type of M&A activities most likely to take place the rest of this year.

Technology’s role in M&A

Tools that can be accessed remotely, will continue to be important to dealmakers, who overwhelmingly cited the ability to complete due diligence virtually as the most important aspect of technology during the current climate. This was followed by tools that increase speed and efficiency, AI and machine learning, analytics, and security.

“With remote work expected to continue in the coming months, dealmakers across the globe need to ensure they have the right tools to complete deals effectively and efficiently, especially as deal volume continues to rise,” said Wiley.

To help dealmakers be deal-ready for any opportunity, Datasite recently introduced its Prepare app, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help with the preparation of any transaction, including restructurings, divestitures and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It automates the time-consuming burden of identifying, categorizing and indexing all deal documents and artifacts and includes an automated redaction tool which can identify, block and unblock sensitive information as the deal progresses.

The poll results are based on responses from global M&A professionals in the Americas, and Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, who tuned into Datasite webinar events between June 4th and August 6th, 2020.

To learn more about the data, please visit:

About Datasite

Datasite is a leading SaaS provider for the M&A industry, empowering dealmakers around the world with the tools they need to succeed across the entire deal lifecycle. For more information, visit


Laura Powers
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Nicholas Koulermos
5W Public Relations
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Media Relations
Marta Carraro

Vice President, Communications


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Investor Relations
Jennifer Percy

Senior Vice President, Finance & Treasury


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