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Big Jump in M&As in Asia Pacific Companies in First Half

Grab Holdings' deal with SPAC Altimeter Growth Corp, valued at $31 billion, was the largest-ever in high-tech sector in the Asia Pacific and the biggest Southeast Asian M&A on record, Refinitiv says. Reuters photo.

The Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, saw $640 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 2021, which was the most in over 40 years


(AF) The value of mergers and acquisitions among Asia Pacific companies, excluding Japan, totalled nearly $640 billion in the first half of 2021 – an 82% increase in value from a year ago and the highest ever first half period since records began in 1980, Refinitiv data group revealed on Tuesday.

Deal making reached record levels in the second quarter, with some $368.5 billion worth of deals – a rise of nearly 36% from the first quarter.

Most of the activity in the Asia Pacific region involved the technology sector, which $133 billion or nearly 21% of the first half M&A.

This was bolstered by the de-SPAC transaction of Grab Holdings and Altimeter Growth Corp valued at $31.1 billion, which Refinitiv said was the largest-ever deal involving an Asia Pacific high-tech firm and the biggest Southeast Asian M&A deal on record.

A further $75 billion worth of deals (11.7%) involved energy and power companies, while those involved in materials made up 9.5% of merger and acquisitions and industrial companies added a further 9% of deals.

Morgan Stanley had a 12% share of M&A activity so far this year, it said, with $77.7 billion in related deal value.

Investment banking fees reached an estimated $15.4 billion during the first half of 2021, a 20.8% increase from the same period last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic spread around the world but that was the highest first half since records began in 2000.

Equity capital market fees totaled $5.7 billion, up nearly 80% from a year ago, which was also the most for a first half since 2000.

Debt capital markets underwriting fees amounted to $6.5 billion. That was a 4.3% drop from 2020, but still elevated compared to historical levels.

Fees generated from completed M&A transactions totaled $1.3 billion, a 1.2% increase from the same period last year.

Equity issuance also soared

Equity and equity-related issuance in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, also saw its strongest-ever first half, with a total of $253.3 billion so far this year, an 80.9% increase in proceeds from a year ago.

“Asian issuers are tapping the equity capital markets at a record pace with number of issuances witnessing the busiest-ever first half period with 1,672 deals, up 42.8% from the comparative period last year,” Refinitiv said in its statement.

Meanwhile, 1H21 also saw the most initial public offerings (IPO) since records began in 1980, raising a combined $83.8 billion in proceeds, up 175.7% from the first half of 2020, with the number of IPOs also growing 84% from a year ago.

This was driven by Chinese IPOs, which accounted for 72% of the region’s IPO proceeds, and 29% of the IPO proceeds worldwide.

Kuaishou Technology Co Ltd raised $6.2 billion via an IPO in January, making it the largest IPO offering in Asia Pacific and globally during the first half. Follow-on offerings also saw a record period raising over $132 billion during the six months to the end of June. That was a 50.7% increase compared the same period last year.



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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