The second half of 2023 did not see any significant changes in the pattern of M&A activity, with a cautious outlook persisting and the quiet optimism that the period started with never being fully realised.
Q3 opened with JPMorgan Chase & Co having taken the top spot as the world’s number 1 M&A adviser, having advised on $29.8 billion worth of M&A in the first six months of the year.
Generative AI was the key watchword in a period where financing remained expensive and recession fears continued to hang over proceedings.
By November 2023 there were two major wars going on globally, which only added to the sense of uncertainty. The result was an unsettled economic landscape.
Recession obsession and the return of volatility remained constants.
While it seems that the stable days are no longer to be seen, there are reminders that volatility in the market is normal and should be expected.
Significant M&A activity in H2 2023:
Details of a proposed PacWest Bancorp and Banc of California Inc merger were unveiled with the deal receiving regulatory approval in late November 2023.
Regulators and competition watchdogs in the UK and US finally allowed Microsoft to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard in October following a restructured proposal that sees the company’s cloud-streaming rights going to Ubisoft under a ‘non-exclusive licence’. The $68.7 billion deal, originally proposed in January 2022, will see the Xbox producer gaining control of mega-franchises like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Candy Crush.
Cubic Telecom, the Irish based maker of Internet of Things software for vehicles, was acquired by Japan’s Softbank Corp for €473 million, in what was reported Ireland’s biggest software deal ever.
German company Baader Global acquired a majority stake in the Irish-based software firm Emydex for an undisclosed sum.
In a $6.5 billion acquisition deal, led by global investment firm Francisco Partners and global alternative asset managers TPG, the US-based web tracking and analytics company New Relic was taken private. The company had originally gone public in 2014 and the transaction drew a lot of attention in what was deemed a relatively dry season for IPO.
Cisco purchased cyber security company Splunk in a $28 billion all cash deal.
The fintech-as-a-service startup Rapyd acquired a portion of PayU from internet giant Prosus for $610 million, a move which will enable the API provider to extend its offering into emerging markets.
Winbond Health acquired a minority stake in Marne Medical Cloud for $7 million, the industry’s largest disclosed deal of Q3 2023.
September saw subscription-based language learning service Babbel acquire language learning browser extension Toucan.
The Adobe / Figma multibillion-dollar merger, originally announced in September 2022, was abandoned in December 2023 after a series of regulatory roadblocks and ‘no clear path’ to the necessary regulatory approvals found. Following the initial announcement the deal had remained in doubt with concerns about competition and the potential to harm innovation being the main factors.
Irish automation and analytics company Glantus was acquired by Genesis Bidco, who are wholly-owned by Finland’s Basware. Having gone public in 2021 with a valuation of £37m, following a period of financial difficulty, Glantus were snapped up in the deal for £17.8 million.
The UK’s Competition Markets Authority (CMA) approved global technology leader Broadcom’s purchase of VMware.
IPO activity in H2 2023
Trends continued to tend towards subdued for the most part.
Investor hope for a turnaround was rekindled in September with the $54.5 billion valuation of SoftBank’s chip designer Arm which was the biggest IPO of the year at that date. Coming seven years after the company had previously been taken private Arm ended first day trading +25%. The demand for Initial Public Offerings among investors has been hit hard over the last two years, so the success of the ARM IPO, was seen as a significant light in the storm.
It was followed by a series of IPOs, including German footwear maker Birkenstock, and grocery delivery company Instacart, although many of these IPOs suffered dips in the days after their debuts, suggesting that investors continue to remain hesitant.
What to expect in 2024:
Global Shares is a trading name of Global Shares Ireland Limited (“Global Shares Ireland”), a company registered in Ireland, registration number 412396 with its registered office at Unit 2, Building D, West Cork Technology Park, Clonakilty, Co, Cork, Ireland which provides share plan administration services and software. Global Shares Inc. (“Global Shares US”) is incorporated in Delaware and provides share plan administration services and software to certain U.S. Companies.
For securities traded in United States markets, Broker Dealer Services are provided by Global Shares Financial Services, Inc. (“GSFS”), Member FINRA/SIPC, 575 Washington Blvd, Floor 9, Jersey City, NJ, 07310-1616, (646) 968-0653. Check the background of Our Firm on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
Global Shares Trustees Ireland Limited, Global Shares Trustees (UK) Limited, and Global Shares Trustees Company Limited (collectively, the “Trust Companies”), are Irish and UK trust companies that provide limited trust services for corporate share plans.
Global Shares Execution Services Limited (“GSESL”) is licensed to conduct investment services business under the Investment Services Act as authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (“the MFSA”) pursuant to licence number GSES-IF-14206. The Company offers receipt and transmission of orders and nominee services under its provision of business. The registered address is at 171, Old Bakery Street, Valletta, VLT1455, Malta. Global Shares Ireland, Global Shares US, GSFS, the Trust Companies, and GSESL are affiliated companies and all under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Please Note: This publication contains general information only and Global Shares is not, through this article, issuing any advice, be it legal, financial, tax-related, business-related, professional or other. The Global Shares Academy is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be used as such. Global Shares does not assume any liability for reliance on the information provided herein.
All companies referenced are shown for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended as a recommendation or endorsement by J.P. Morgan in this context.