2024 M&A Outlook:
From Stability to Strength

Pressure on financial markets, shaky macroeconomic confidence, and rising interest rates all contributed to a subdued start to dealmaking in 2023 — although a welcome pickup in both announcements and new dialogue near the end of Q1 marked a notable shift toward recovery. 

Although the total M&A dollar volume of $3T is down ~20% YoY, activity is in line with pre-2018 median levels, and average monthly volumes progressively improved throughout the year. Overall, stabilization of global activity is coming into view as the macroeconomic backdrop steadies and financing markets continue to reopen.

History will show that M&A markets undulate, but pullbacks tend to be reasonably short in duration. Even now, volumes have normalized, and dialogue with corporate clients has been increasing as conditions improve.

As we close the year, M&A volumes reflect the strongest level of activity we’ve experienced since the beginning of the current rate-hiking cycle — and while sponsor-backed activity has been notably muted, we are cautiously optimistic that we’ll see a rebalancing within this space in the year ahead.

Key Themes for Strategic M&A in 2024

  • Elevated focus on M&A as a strategic lever, particularly from corporate acquirers
  • Amplified activity across growth sectors (e.g. technology, healthcare)
  • Continued simplification of business models
  • Increased activity outside of the US and reemergence of cross-border activity
  • Return of sponsor dealmaking, including on the sell side
  • Growth of AI-driven M&A (currently confined primarily to technology sector) across industries
  • Continued volume surge in resources, energy transition, and infrastructure

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