Merger & acquisition (M&A) activity involving India hit an all-time high at $130.3 billion in the first half of 2022, more than double that in the first half of 2021, data with Refinitiv, an LSEG business, showed.

This is the highest M&A value for a semiannual period since records began (for Refinitiv) in 1980. The number of announced deals grew 30.3 per cent year-on-year in H1 this year.

Target India M&A totaled $122.6 billion, up 123.8 per cent from the same period last year. Domestic M&A activity reached record levels, amounting to $101.1 billion, up 241.7 per cent in value, compared to the same period last year. HDFC Bank Ltd agreed to merge with Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd (HDFC) in a deal valued at $60.4 billion.

Significant growth opportunities in the Indian market and domestic consolidation bolstered M&A activity, led by the $60.4-billion merger between HDFC Bank and Housing Development Finance Corporation, the largest-ever Indian deal on record,” said Elaine Tan, Senior Analyst at Refinitiv.

A notable theme this year was the growing M&A activity involving the renewable energy and sustainable sectors, which has totaled $11.5 billion so far this year, up 41.7 per cent from a year-ago, Tan added. 

“High technology continues to witness a significant number of transactions as India’s strong innovative start-up economy, and value creation from digital transformation will continue to drive activity,”  Tan said.

India’s Inbound M&A activity fell 14.6 per cent from a year-ago and reached $21.5 billion. The US was the most active foreign acquirer in India with $11.3 billion worth of deals, down 7.9 per cent from a year-ago, and accounted for a 52.3 per cent market share of India’s inbound M&A.  

Outbound M&A transactions totaled $6 billion, a 73.6 per cent increase in value compared to a year ago, making it the highest first-half period since 2010. 

The US was the most targeted nation in terms of value from Indian companies, with 31 deals worth $4.1 billion, or 67.7 per cent market share. This was driven by the pending $3.3-billion acquisition of the US-based Biosimilars Business of Viatris Inc by Biocon Biologics Ltd, making it the largest-ever Indian outbound acquisition in US healthcare. 

A majority of the deal making activity involving India targeted the financial sector, which totaled $69 billion, a five-fold increase in value from a year-ago, and captured 53 per cent market share. The high technology sector, which saw the most number of deals, totaled $16.5 billion, up 78.3 per cent from a year-ago, with 12.7 per cent market share. Materials captured 11.9 per cent market share and grew 155.2 per cent in value to $15.5 billion, compared to the same period last year.

EXPECT SUBDUED IPO ACTIVITY

Refinitiv expects Indian IPO activity to be subdued in the coming months given high volatility in the secondary markets and measures to tighten liquidity. 

With uncertainties brought by volatile stock markets, geopolitical tensions and unfavourable macroeconomic factors, global IPO witnessed a dramatic decline this year, after a record level of activity was seen in 2021, Tan said. 

“Most major markets experienced year-on-year declines, both in proceeds and the number of IPOs. However, India witnessed an increase in IPO activity, with proceeds up 26.1 per cent and number of IPOs grew 53.8 per cent from a year ago, which included listing from Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) that raised $2.7 billion (₹21000 crore), the largest ever Indian IPO and the third largest IPO globally so far this year,” Tan added.

INVESTMENT BANKING ACTIVITIES 

Meanwhile, Refinitiv data showed that investment banking activities generated $377 million in the first half of 2022, a 25.2 per cent decline compared to the same period last year, making it the lowest first-half period since 2016.  

Equity capital markets (ECM) underwriting fees reached $94.9 million, down 33.4 per cent from a year-ago. 

Debt Capital Markets (DCM) underwriting fees totaled $81.4 million, down 8.5 per cent from a year ago. Completed M&A advisory fees grew 1.5 per cent from a year-ago and totaled $145.9 million. Syndicated lending fees declined 57.4 per cent from the comparable period last year and generated $54.7 million in the first half of 2022.

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