“The Middle East has seen a very robust year in terms of both inbound and outbound M&A activity,” said Tom Thraya, UAE Head of Corporate/M&A for Baker&McKenzie Habib Al Mulla.”The increasing trend looks set to continue in 2015, with stable markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia remaining attractive to international investors. Factors such as the UAE’s increasing importance as a business hub for the Middle East and Africa, and the opening up of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange for foreign investors in 2015, are fueling optimism for a further acceleration of M&A activity in the region.”
Data from Thomson Reuters reveals that as of 14 December 2014, the total value of Middle Eastinbound M&A activity has already surpassed 2013, increasing by 53 percent to reach USD9.5 billion. In terms of deal value, inbound acquisitions were driven by the US (49.8 percent), followed by China (10.3 percent) and Switzerland (7.1 percent). The US had the most number of transactions with 43 deals, followed by India and China, both with 8 deals.
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Dealmakers polled in mid-November expect M&A to expand significantly in the financial services, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector over the coming year, according to Mergers & Acquisitions’ Mid-Market Pulse (MMP), a forward-looking sentiment indicator derived from monthly surveys of approximately 250 executives published in partnership with McGladrey LLP.
The 12-month score of 87.2 for FIRE was nearly 17.5 points higher than the comparable score for overall M&A. It was also the highest 12-month score of the six fast-growth industries measured by the MMP – ahead of health care; technology, media and telecommunications; manufacuring; consumer goods and retail; and energy. Short-term expectations for the sector were also high. The three-month composite score of 79.3 for FIRE beat the overall market score of 71.0 but was lower than the three-month score of 84.1 for health care.
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