Hong Kong and mainland China are returning to growth i viewfinder; Shutterstock
M&A activity in the Asia Pacific region fell only slightly in the first half of the year, emerging relatively unscathed from the near-freeze in global dealmaking amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Deal values in APAC, excluding Japan, declined 17% to $226bn, the lowest since 2013, but a smaller decline than other regions, according to Mergermarket’s 1H20 M&A report.
By contrast, deal values in Europe and the US plunged 31% and 72% respectively. In Japan, deal values in the first six months of the year actually increased compared to the same period in 2019, buoyed by a bumper first quarter. Deal values climbed to almost $24bn, up from $19bn a year ago.
Riccardo Ghia, research editor for APAC at Mergermarket, said: “Signs of recovery in dealmaking [in APAC] began to emerge in the second quarter following the end of the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic, despite global economic headwinds and growing geopolitical uncertainties.
"First, central banks’ expansive monetary policies will lead to lower interest rates that could spur financial transactions despite governments’ efforts to redirect liquidity toward the real economy. In addition, mainland China and Hong Kong are returning to economic growth, which might improve investors’ sentiment despite a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Beijing.”
Given the more benign regional impact, nine out of 10 law firms in Mergermarket’s APAC (ex Japan) league table by deal value saw the value of the deals they advised on increase.
Indian firm AZB & Partners surged 12 places to first, working on $22bn of deals — 46% higher than in 2019. Indian rival Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co edged up one place to second, advising on $21bn-worth of transactions, broadly in line with its 2019 levels. Weil Gotshal & Manges ranked third, up from 66th spot in 2019. It worked on $20bn of deals, compared to just $3bn a year earlier.
India’s Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas jumped 10 places to top the APAC league table by deal count, advising on 51 deals, up from 30 in 2019. Local peers AZB & Partners and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co retained second and third places respectively, working on 46 and 39 deals — 17 and 22 short of last year’s first half totals.
In Japan, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto topped the Mergermarket league table by deal value, advising on $16m-worth of transactions — 65% higher than last year. Nishimura & Asahi topped the table by deal count, working on 50 transactions —nine more than the first six months of 2019.
|1||13||AZB & Partners||21.7||46|
|2||3||Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas||21||39|
|3||66||Weil Gotshal & Manges||20||9|
|4||71||Davis Polk & Wardwell||19.8||17|
|5||12||Herbert Smith Freehills||16.5||30|
|7||14||Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas||15.9||51|
|8||41||Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom||15||12|
|9||10||Kirkland & Ellis||14.9||15|
|10||30||Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||14.7||12|
|1||11||Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas||15.9||51|
|2||2||AZB & Partners||21.8||46|
|3||3||Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co||21||39|
|4||4||Khaitan & Co||2||34|
|5||1||King & Wood Mallesons||8||32|
|6||5||Kim & Chang||5.8||32|
|8||8||Herbert Smith Freehills||16.5||30|
Further reading on deals
Latin America Covid-19 woes see region's M&A activity plunge to lowest on record — Deal value in first six months of the year falls below previous record low in 2003, Mergermarket report shows
Freshfields and DLA Piper top European H1 M&A tables for value and volume as deal activity plunges — Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills jump up rankings as Slaughter and May drops out of top 20
Covid-19 sees US M&A activity suffer bigger decline than during financial crisis — Wachtell Lipton and Kirkland & Ellis cling on to top league table positions despite slowdown
Global M&A slowest since financial crisis as deal appetite slumps amid Covid-19 pandemic — Latham & Watkins replaces Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz at top of global M&A advisory league table for first half of 2020