A new report from Pillsbury finds that despite the rollercoaster ride experienced by M&A market in the United States thus far in 2022, dealmakers remain fairly optimistic that activity will pick up again before the year is through.

Published in partnership with Mergermarket, U.S. M&A: Finding Opportunity in the Unknown collects responses from a Q1 2022 survey of 150 U.S.-based corporate and private equity executives. Respondents were asked to share their insights into the current dealmaking landscape, the factors impacting it and their expectations for the year ahead. And while dealmakers may be tempering expectations for 2022, 65% of corporate respondents still expect to match last year’s deal pace. Meanwhile, 71% of PE respondents anticipate executing four or more deals this year.

“Certainly, the headwinds impacting dealmaking right now will make it difficult for 2022 activity to match the exceptionally strong performance of U.S. M&A last year,” said Pillsbury M&A practice co-leader Justin Hovey. “But while macroeconomic uncertainty may have forced investors to reassess their strategies, it’s clear market participants still believe significant opportunities exist.”

Other Key findings from the report include:

  • For a quarter of all respondents, the number-one driver of M&A activity over the next 12 months will be capturing synergies between businesses. Diversification of products and services followed closely behind, with just over one-fifth of those surveyed (21%) focused on that strategy.
  • Despite concerns about stricter SPAC regulation, nearly two-thirds of PE respondents (61%) still expect to be involved in a SPAC-related transaction in 2022. And corporate respondents are even more optimistic, with 74% expecting to be involved in a SPAC-related transaction this year and 69% “not at all concerned” about tightening rules.
  • An overwhelming majority (79%) of PE respondents say infrastructure legislation will boost capital raising, investment and dealmaking efforts in 2022. Corporate expectations are more measured, but 61% still see infrastructure as presenting real opportunity.
  • When considering U.S. policy scenarios, responses indicate that increased regulatory scrutiny is the one most likely to cause a significant decrease in dealmaking appetite (86%), while passage of the Build Back Better Act is most likely to cause an increase in appetite (50%).
  • While a variety of policy issues stand to influence dealmaking attitudes, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rapidly brought geopolitical concerns to the fore. Among those surveyed after March 7, when it was clear the conflict would not resolve quickly, responses citing geopolitics as the greatest potential impediment to M&A plans more than doubled.
  • The largest group of respondents overall (23%) said the number-one potential impediment to dealmaking was conducting due diligence, with continued travel restrictions and less willingness to meet in person to conduct asset reviews impacting sentiments.

To download the full U.S. M&A: Finding Opportunity in the Unknown report, click here

Pillsbury advises market leaders, innovators and financial sponsors on groundbreaking deals in the Technology and Life Sciences, Energy, Financial and other sectors driving today's economy. Drawing upon the vast experience of more than 650 lawyers in key deal markets across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, we help clients execute the full spectrum of M&A and Private Equity transactions, across industries and around the world. Pillsbury is consistently ranked by Bloomberg, FactSet, Refinitiv and others as one of the Top-20 most active law firms for M&A and our lawyers have been cited by Chambers and The Legal 500 as preeminent advisers in the field.

About Pillsbury

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is an international law firm with a particular focus on the technology & life sciences, energy, financial, and real estate & construction sectors. Recognized as one of the most innovative law firms by Financial Times and one of the top firms for client service by BTI Consulting, Pillsbury and its lawyers are highly regarded for their forward-thinking approach, their enthusiasm for collaborating across disciplines and their authoritative commercial awareness. To learn more, visit pillsburylaw.com