Legal Business Blogs

M&A Yearbook – Editor’s Letter

When M&A markets slowed down in the second half of 2022, the positive spin from dealmakers was that at least they got a little respite after the heady heights of the post-pandemic 2021 deal boom.

But when the lull continued and 2023 turned into a year that set all the wrong records in terms of deal values and volumes, any attempts at positive spin were a lot less convincing.

But now, at the halfway point in 2024 and with inflation falling, M&A partners are once again optimistic that things could be about to turn. Certainly, Q1 deal values suggest a market moving in the right direction, even if deal volumes are still lagging.

In the 2024 M&A Yearbook, in association with Taylor Wessing, we speak to leading corporate partners at UK and US firms to find out their thoughts on the year ahead and the way the prolonged slowdown in activity has changed the way deals have to be done in order to go ahead.

It’s a reality that Slaughter and May partners Victoria MacDuff and Richard Hilton grappled with when they advised on one of the biggest announced deals of 2023 – the planned £15bn combination of Vodafone and CK Hutchison’s Three. It’s a deal that will create the biggest mobile network in the UK, if it gets competition clearance. They tell Legal 500 London editor Cameron Purse all about their role for Vodafone.

With competition authorities around the world taking an increasingly aggressive stance towards M&A, and governments worldwide being more protectionist, it’s the perfect time for Legal 500’s US editor Barnaby Merrill to take an in-depth look at what’s happening in the world’s busiest M&A market – the US. He speaks with some of New York’s top antitrust lawyers in our feature.

Elsewhere, in ‘Stress test’ Elisha Juttla speaks to partners at firms from Milbank to Hogan Lovells and Freshfields to Simpson Thacher about the reality of a life under pressure and finds out their tips for staying calm in the midst of a deal. We also have a trio of interviews with market-leading M&A partners Jennifer Bethlehem at Freshfields, Melissa Fogarty at Clifford Chance and Lorenzo Corte at Skadden.

In addition we have updates from partner firms in Argentina, Belgium, the UK and the Philippines.

We hope you enjoy it!

Georgina Stanley