GLOBAL mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in disruptive innovation sectors such as fintech soared to $291bn (£239bn) last year, new research has found.
This is four times the total of $72bn in 2012, increasing steadily year on year.
Analysis from accountancy firm Deloitte aggregated deal activity from nine sectors: internet of things (IoT), fintech, cleantech, healthtech, big data, robotics, wearables, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital.
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“Unrelenting technological progress brings uncertainty of another kind to the global M&A markets, already dogged by political and economic changes,” said Iain Macmillan, head of global M&A at Deloitte.
“AI, IoT, robotics and other disruptive innovation technologies are set to unleash a new competitive race.
“Chief executives are now saddled with the twin objectives of responding to the disruptive innovation threat in their own arena while simultaneously harnessing these forces to create businesses of tomorrow.
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“This reorientation should provide a significant boost to M&A and corporate venture investment activities, as well as unlocking new sources of revenue. The $300bn spent last year to acquire these technologies should increase in 2017, although companies will be making relatively smaller, more strategic deals.”
Deloitte predicts M&A activity across all sectors will come in at 10,902 deals in the first quarter of 2017, a 1.6 per cent decline compared to the first quarter of 2016.
“Despite uncertainty, global M&A deal activity is in fact holding up relatively well,” said Macmillan.