Good news for the U.S.; bad news for the U.K. and China. Lazard CEO Kenneth Jacobs says that while domestic M&A deals will see continued momentum in the coming year, foreign transactions will experience a slowdown.
“Until we see some resolution to the trade talks with China, we’re going to see hesitancy,” Jacobs told Bloomberg. In the U.K., economic concerns surrounding Brexit mean “this year is going to be a slower year.”
On Tuesday, Lazard reported record–high business stemming from domestic M&A deals. The asset management company helped close some of the biggest deals of 2018, including Cigna Corp.’s $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Co. Lazard also oversaw IBM’s $33 billion purchase of Red Hat Inc., the second-largest technology deal in the world.
But Lazard isn’t the only financial corporation riding the U.S. M&A wave. Rival firm Evercore Inc. is also capitalizing on the trend.
“During the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, fees for Advisory services increased 32% versus the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, as we continued to advise clients on a wide variety of matters including strategic M&A, activism, restructuring, and capital raising,” the company reported in its 2018 full year results.
Another competitor in the game, Centerview Partners LLC, also believes it will be a slow year for foreign deals. CEO Blair Effron says that corporate executives are adamant about steering clear of Europe until the region’s economic uncertainties are resolved.
“I think that the pace will be below last year’s $4.5 trillion globally, which was the second largest ever,” Effron told Bloomberg when asked about his expectations for 2019. “We’ll end up in a market that reflects tailwind for the economy, and that reflects what is really the biggest trend: disruption in every single category, every single sector—that’s what’s driving M&A.“
For more projections, check out “The 5 Biggest Trends in Mergers & Acquisitions For 2019.”