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The M&A landscape in 2021: A global picture

The global M&A market staged a remarkable recovery in the second half of last year, despite an escalating pandemic and deep political turmoil. As 2021 begins, we identify the most significant trends likely to shape dealmaking in the months ahead and ask: can growth be sustained?

2020 may well go down in history as one of the most remarkable years, including for the global M&A market.

Brought to an almost total standstill as Covid-19 took hold in the spring, dealmaking staged an extraordinary recovery from late summer onwards, as cash-laden investors returned to the market  with force. Stock markets around the world underwent what came to be known as the ‘everything rally’, with prices across most sectors climbing rapidly.

As 2021 gets under way, the question is whether this return to growth is sustainable.

To answer this question we assembled a panel of five of Allen & Overy’s M&A lawyers from around the world, comprising: Victor Ho, managing partner of the Beijing and Shanghai offices; Khalid Garousha, managing partner of the Middle East and Turkey practice; Eric Shube, head of U.S. M&A; and Astrid Krüger and Seth Jones, partners in our Munich and London offices, respectively. 

In a session held on 14 January 2021, the panel identified five trends that could either propel or hamper dealmaking in the year ahead.