If money could talk, it would have whooped last year. Consider this: in 2017, India saw more than 1,000 mergers and acquisitions (M&As), the highest in the current decade. The dealmaking happened on the back of a record year in terms of raising equity. A total of Rs 1,81,605 crore was raised in 2017.
Private equity players, too, had their best year in India in 2017. An EY report says private equity players invested a record $25 billion in India in 2017 and also had a record number of exit.
The year 2018 has started on a positive note, with a flurry of initial public offerings (IPOs) in March and M&As surpassing the corresponding 2017 January-February numbers.
The really big deals, though, have not yet happened. The number of billion-dollar deals, at eight, had declined in 2017, against 12 in 2016.
But appetite for domestic assets is strong. While the number of cross-border deals fell to 340 in 2017 from 368 in 2016, the number of domestic deals increased to 682 in 2017, from 528 in 2016. By deal count, the domestic number is double that of the cross-border one. By sheer value, domestic deals make up more than 75% of the total.
A period of high capital-raising can be a double-edged sword for mergers and acquisitions. It can indicate that a season of M&As is around the corner, like in 2006-07, or it can point to a listless period for deal-making. After all, only 20% of the IPOs that happened in the last year raised fresh equity; the rest were promoters or private equity funds offering their shares for sale.