Mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) has largely been shielded from the global downturn in the opening half of 2020, according to Mergermarket’s H1, 2020 Global Report, receiving two deals above $10bn in the second quarter.
In all, nine deals valued in excess of $1bn mark were recorded in the first half of the year, Mergermarket said.
The region, it said, saw $59.8bn (130 deals), the second highest YTD value on Mergermarket record, only behind last year’s $119.5bn.
M&A in the energy, mining & utilities sector reached $32.1bn (15 deals) in the first half of the year, surpassing all annual totals the sector has seen in the region.
The big-ticket deals in H1 have already pushed this year’s value 14.8% ahead of the full-year 2019 figure of $28bn (62 deals), the previous annual record.
The sector represents a staggering 53.7% of MEA’s YTD 2020 value, up from 19.6% in 2019, the report said.
Mirroring trends in global dealmaking, the region’s technology sector has remained active despite the uncertainty.
The sector saw 27 deals worth a combined $2.5bn, contributing 21.1% in the region’s first half deal count, an increase from 17.6% in 2019.
Meanwhile, the pharma, medical & biotech sector has seen its share of the MEA region’s overall deal count rise to 10.9% in 2020, with 14 deals worth a combined $579mn.
Despite the added difficulties in conducting cross-border deals, foreign investment into the region remained strong in the second quarter, reaching $16.3bn (31 deals) in second quarter of the year – the largest quarterly value since Q1, 2017 ($24.bn).
“It remains to be seen whether such investment will continue through the rest of 2020, given the growing economic uncertainty,” Mergermarket noted.
Outbound M&A, meanwhile, dipped to its lowest YTD value since the global financial crisis over a decade ago to just $6.6bn so far this year. This included investments into India-based Jio Platforms and the $1bn acquisition of the Ritz Hotel in London.
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