Increasing creativity and complexity in deals and more active and interventionist regulators are two major trends predicted for Australian public M&A in 2020 in a special report prepared by Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia’s leading independent law firm.

M&A 2020 Outlook was prepared by Corrs’ Corporate practice and its findings are based on the team’s experience acting on transactions for the last 12 months, a detailed analysis of the latest available deal data and discussions with leading industry players.

According to Corrs’ Head of Corporate Sandy Mak, “In a world of low underlying economic growth, businesses are becoming increasingly creative in the ways they look to M&A to drive inorganic growth.

“We see private capital as [a] key driver of deals and deal trends in 2020 and expect this to spur competition, creativity and complexity in deals.”

In the past 12 months, the market has also seen changes in policy and a step-change in enforcement from all relevant regulators who have adopted a more interventionist approach to transactions in a post-banking Royal Commission world.

“So while we expect more competition, complexity and creativity in the way deals are executed, we also anticipate regulators will scrutinise more closely than ever the way in which those deals get done,” Mak said.

“Key areas of focus include regulating access to data, with both FIRB and ACCC identifying this as a priority, and ensuring there is a level playing field for transactions by promoting competition and limiting the scope for unequal treatment and improper influence.”

Apart from identifying major trends, M&A 2020 Outlook also provides more detailed predictions for M&A on: who will be targets, who will be bidding, how they will pay, the mechanics of how deals will get done, and what the regulators will do.

A full copy of M&A 2020 Outlook, including its detailed research on Australian public M&A deals from the past 12 months, can be found here