With inflation easing and deal appetite rising, we expect to see promising early signs of a rebound in M&A activity. From industry consolidation to growth of new products and services, as well as the ongoing pursuit of digital transformation, the shape of what will drive the recovery of M&A activity is beginning to emerge.

Speaking with over 200 senior executives from multinational corporates, large private equity firms and major investment banks, we examine trends for the year ahead and offer a prognosis for M&A globally, as well as look further into 2024 and beyond in our global M&A trends and risks report.

Take a look at our global M&A trends and risks report and read our latest M&A insights. 

Download trends and risk report   M&A insights

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Key findings

Cautious optimism amidst continued uncertainty in M&A

Sentiment around M&A activity in 2024 is mixed. Looking at their own investment outlook, over half of respondents (59 percent) expect their appetite for M&A to increase compared to 2023, including around a quarter (23 percent) who say it will increase significantly. 

The rise of alternative financing

According to our respondent group, the most commonly used forms of financing will be cash reserves (90 percent) and private debt (91 percent). Moreover, almost a third (31 percent) identify private debt as likely to be the single most important form of M&A financing in 2024. 

The AI boom

Technology is expected to see the highest growth in inbound cross-border M&A in 2024, with 71 percent of respondents citing it in their top-three sectors. AI has become the hottest topic in tech. A third of respondents are looking to acquire an AI business, a proportion that rises to 54 percent among PE funds.

Regulatory headwinds

Overall, the type of policy and regulation that respondents believe will most inhibit M&A in 2024 is antitrust regulation (33 percent of top-two votes), although this is skewed largely towards advanced and mature deal makers such as the US (88 percent) and Europe (70 percent).

ESG – two sides of the same coin?

Finding itself in a curious position, ESG regulations are coming out as a key obstacle, with nearly a quarter giving this as a top factor most likely to supress M&A activity in the year ahead. On the other hand, ESG guidance is in the enviable position of being highlighted as a key driver for M&A. 

With the arrival of the new year, market sentiment has grown more optimistic. Pent-up demand, significant amounts of PE dry powder, increased availability of private debt, falling inflation levels, and the expectation of lower or at least steady borrowing rates, all point to a more active global M&A market in 2024.Ayse Yuksel, Global Head of Corporate, M&A and securities

M&A Outlook in focus

Outlook 2021 C

M&A hub


Global Head of Corporate, M&A and Securities
Head of Corporate, M&A and Securities, Europe, Middle East and Asia
Senior Partner
Head of Corporate, M&A and Securities, South Africa; Director
Head of Corporate, M&A and Securities, United States
Partner | Corporate Team Leader

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