August 22, 2018

View from the Bay: trend-spotting in M&A's epicenter

Shelle Martin, Senior Director at Merrill DataSite | August 22, 2018

Because I work with a broad spectrum of Bay Area dealmakers, I’m often asked, “what are you seeing?” Clients want to know what local M&A trends I’m spotting and what common issues are on the top of people’s minds.

West coast technology remains the epicenter of upcoming deal activity, according to the latest Deal Drivers heat map. The report flags industry convergence, heightened private equity interest, the expanding use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data and Internet of Things (IoT) applications as driving M&A.

Meanwhile, here’s my take on what dealmakers are talking about on the ground:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are being snapped up left and right, even at extremely elevated valuations.
  • Autonomous car start-ups are multiplying rapidly.
  • Deals are smaller with shorter buyer exclusivity periods (nothing more than a month).
  • Many companies have dabbled with an IPO and then pulled back.
  • When it comes to potentially sourcing new targets, finding off-the-beaten path companies remains a huge challenge.
  • Auction processes keep getting tighter and more competitive.
  • New deal sourcing processes to better originate (and hold on to) potential acquisitions.

Another thing we continue to see is that the major hesitation to more acquisitions isn’t elevated valuations, it’s successfully integrating previous deals.

Contact Merrill to find out how we help you address local due diligence challenges.

Ready to Get Started?

Here are some other items you might be interested in:

From the Bullpen to the Boardroom: Insights from CEOs

As many professionals can attest, investment banking is a feeder job for other highly successful and ambitious career moves. However, the transition to get there is not always so clear, especially for aspiring entrepreneurs. Our expert panel of CEO's broke down the challenges for our audience and offered several great takeaways for those who want to be CEO one day.

Colleagues Discussing Business in Conference Room
Expert Spotlight: Japan Deal Momentum

Japan dealmakers are seeing a strong rebound in M&A following the initial impact of COVID- 19 with the current momentum backed by an uptick in corporate divestitures, low-cost financing, and activism among others, according to industry experts speaking at a recent webinar hosted by Datasite and Mergermarket. Learn more from this expert spotlight blog.

Tokyo Japan Skyline
Market Spotlight: Restructuring in the Middle East

How is M&A faring in the Middle East? Is distressed market activity on the rise, as it is in other regions? And how can deals get done quickly? One thing seems fairly certain: there’s definitely more to come in the region.