Asia, however, tells a story of increasingly ‘outward focused’ activity (and simultaneously, a comparatively low Covid-19 impact):

  • In Japan and China, inbound M&A opportunities continue to open up to the West, with an increasing number of Western private equity firms operating in the territories. In Japan especially, deep-seated opposition to unsolicited approaches are visibly easing, whilst China inbounds are expected to flourish due to the China-EU investment agreement
  • Likewise, the level of outbound activity and strategic appetite for large overseas acquisitions each remain very strong, which we explore below:
    • Technology / Digital transformation and Renewable energy / De-carbonisation have replaced the stagnating manufacturing sector, which is still struggling to come up with viable alternatives to physical site visits and in-person handshakes of senior executives from both sides
  • Q4 outbound M&A statistics understate the increased momentum and conversations which are presently taking place; Asian buyers are adopting different approaches to acquisitions – increased reliance on deal technology, changes in deal team formations, and the bar to start a conversation with Western owners of assets whether bilaterally or part of a process has been lowered