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It’s Full Steam Ahead For M&A Dealmaking in 2021

SS&C Intralinks’ Co-Head Bob Petrocchi on what’s ahead for global dealmaking.


As we close out a year like no other, I sat down with Rupert Cocke, of Mergermarket’s VDR Insight, to discuss the outlook for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) dealmaking. During our discussion, I shared findings from the newly published Q1 2021 SS&C Intralinks Deal Flow Predictor, an indicator of future M&A announcements.

With a history dating back more than a decade, the SS&C Intralinks Deal Flow Predictor is our cornerstone publication. Every quarter, we forecast the volume of future M&A announcements by tracking early-stage M&A activity – sell-side M&A transactions across the world that are in preparation or have begun their due diligence stage.

These early-stage deals are typically six months away from their public announcement. The SS&C Intralinks Deal Flow Predictor has been independently verified as an accurate six-month forecast of future changes in the worldwide number of announced M&A transactions, as reported by Refinitiv. The forecast allows our global community of dealmakers to anticipate sector and regional activity.

The road ahead

So what’s in store for M&A in 2021? Overall, we’re already seeing exceptionally strong numbers globally and the acceleration of transactions. As I told Rupert, from September through November 2020, we have seen a 43 percent increase in logins to virtual data rooms (VDRs) on our platform compared to the same period of last year. There was also a double-digit percentage increase in unique users over the same period.

This encouraging activity comes after a brief dip in dealmaking in early Q2 when government-ordered lockdowns and travel bans went into effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The markets have proved to be resilient and have come roaring back.

If you haven’t read the latest issue of the DFP, then I invite you to download it now. In addition to the forecast for H1 2021, there’s a compelling spotlight feature on “Liquidity and Distress in the Times of COVID-19” and an interview with Meghan McGurk, SVP at investment bank Houlihan Lokey’s aerospace, defense and government practice, on M&A in her industries.

On behalf of the entire SS&C Intralinks team, I wish you and yours a safe holiday season and a Happy New Year.

Bob Petrocchi