- 72% of M&A professionals expect deal volume to increase over the next six months
- 45% are holding off on deals until after the midterm elections
- 69% have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy despite high inflation and rising interest rates
CHICAGO — A new Grant Thornton LLP survey of merger and acquisition (M&A) professionals finds that almost three-fourths (72%) expect deal volume to increase over the next six months, despite rising interest rates threatening access to capital and uncertainty about a potential increase in capital gains taxes.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of the more than 150 respondents said pending tax legislation could have a positive impact on their deal plans. Some believe volume could increase through the end of the current year if a rise in capital gains tax is implemented for 2023.
“The Biden Administration has proposed taxing capital gains of some taxpayers at the ordinary income tax rate, a rate that it also proposes to increase,” said Candice Turner, national managing principal of M&A Tax Services for Grant Thornton. “The difference is significant enough that taxpayers would still be better off to accelerate the tax into 2022. Just the threat of change is likely to propel M&A activity through the end of the year.”
The anticipated rise in deal volume follows a cooling-off period over the summer after a remarkable surge at the end of 2021.
“Deal activity was unprecedented last year,” said Elliot Findlay, Grant Thornton’s national managing principal of Mergers and Acquisitions. “This summer, volume plateaued from previous levels as never-before-seen volume in 2021 began to slow.”
A positive outlook despite high inflation and rising interest rates
The Grant Thornton M&A survey also found that more than two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed have a remarkably positive outlook for the U.S. economy despite high inflation and rising interest rates. This outlook stands in stark contrast to the pessimism reflected in Grant Thornton’s Q2 2022 CFO survey, which showed just 39% of respondents have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy over the next six months.
While CFOs are fretting over inflation, over half (55%) of M&A professionals say inflation has a positive impact on deal activity. Eric Burgess, a partner in Grant Thornton’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice, said companies that can pass on inflationary effects to the consumer are maintaining their margin percentages and, in effect, boosting deal activity. In other words, inflation is having vastly different effects on companies depending on whether customers deem their services essential.
The industries reporting the most positive effects of inflation for M&A were transportation, warehousing and logistics (80% positive), healthcare and life sciences (72%) and banking (67%). More negative effects of inflation on M&A were reported in hospitality and restaurants (73% negative), services (67%) and insurance (62%).
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