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Letter from the M&A Team: Beneath the M&A Headlines

This article is part of Bain's 2022 M&A Report.

Dear friends,

Welcome to the fourth annual edition of our Global M&A Report. Our mission remains constant: Use our unique position in the M&A world to connect what we see in our clients’ executive suites with the larger trends happening across the globe. The result, we hope, is to make all of us a little better at the craft of M&A.

On the surface, the 2021 headline has to be “M&A is back.” And so it was, with the highest total deal value in history. Strategic M&A, including corporate acquisitions and portfolio company add-ons, saw its second-highest year on record in 2021, fueled by all-time high deal multiples. Meanwhile, financial investors, special purpose acquisition companies, and venture capital accounts saw even higher growth. Strategic buyers are seeing a growing diversity of deal types, with alternative deal models such as partnerships increasing. And 2021 brought a renewed focus on scale deals as the disruption from Covid-19 presented opportunities for strong competitors to retrench around market leadership.

All of this made M&A more demanding for executives and deal professionals. Strategic buyers need an expanded set of skills to compete. Clarifying these broadened demands is why we write this report.

This year’s report leads off with a quick year in review. We do start with the horse race statistics that many of our competitors focus on, but from there, we highlight exactly how the world is changing for those in the trenches trying to get deals done. The report discusses in greater detail several hot topics that might help you think about your job just a little bit differently.

The report contains 26 articles by Bain partners from around the world, commenting on specific industries and geographies where we think interesting things are happening. Please pick and choose as you see fit!

Finally, we have updated some of our core research underlying our belief in the concept of repeatable M&A. In a nutshell, frequent and material acquirers create greater total shareholder returns than those who don’t have as robust an M&A strategy. This pattern has held up over the past two decades, despite the M&A market’s evolution since.

Our report is a large undertaking. More than 280 executives from around the world spent time with us in surveys and follow-up interviews to help us understand what is really going on. More than 60 Bain partners took up their metaphorical pens to help us write the articles, and we were supported by a great team of researchers and analysts.

We love hearing from you. Send your feedback, commentary, and insights to us at M&A@bain.com.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy.

The Bain M&A Team

  • Acknowledgments (click to expand)
  • Methodology (click to expand)

Read our 2022 M&A Report


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