Protectionism is M&A’s main obstacle

Author: IFLR Correspondent | Published: 7 Mar 2019

By Sharon Kimathi, Practice Insight deputy editor

Market sources are adamant that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) will rise this year, despite the downturn in equities markets and political uncertainty in the UK and US. Sources have told IFLR that growing nationalistic regulations are the main deal hindrance.

Jana Mercereau, head of corporate M&A at Willis Towers Watson in New York is convinced that rise in protectionist rhetoric in regulations will affect deal flow.

"We expect to see a global decline in the number of cross-border deals due to regulatory constraints fuelled by an increasing trend towards protectionism," she said.

Her take is that this will lead to a more defensive strategy of domestic consolidation, for which some nations will be better-equipped than others.

Meanwhile, a senior in-house lawyer at a Swiss bank in London thinks the real roadblock curbing market activity is protectionist regulations in Europe...