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Outbound M&A activity on the rise, survey says

By Du Juan (China Daily)

08:25, January 09, 2013

Chinese outbound mergers and acquisitions activity is expected to increase this year, partly supported by the continued implementation of the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) and other drivers, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Outbound M&A deals are expected to increase more than 10 percent in the next 12 months despite the mixed macroeconomic outlook, the survey said.

Despite the fact that the Chinese economy is undergoing a recalibration, as it looks to move away from an export-led growth model toward a model based on domestic consumption, industry practitioners from across the world expect Chinese overseas investments to continue to grow, said Lawrence Chia, head of Deloitte China M&A Services and co-chairman of Deloitte Global Chinese Services Group.

However, among the 69 M&A practitioners who have completed the survey, 78 percent of them expect deal sizes to be lower than $300 million this year, while about 55 percent believe that the bulk of all Chinese outbound M&A deals will take place in the lower-to-mid market space.

As the energy and resources sector continues to dominate China's outbound M&A transactions, more than half of the respondents said they believe that most of the upcoming Chinese acquisitions in the sector will take place in South America, while 20 percent of the respondents think the bulk of energy and resources-related outbound deals will be to acquire North American and European assets.

Meanwhile, North America is considered the most attractive target for potential deals in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors, as well as for real estate acquisitions by Chinese buyers.

From 2005 to the third quarter of 2012, around 41 percent of all outbound technology, media and telecom deals were to buy North American targets, according to Deloitte's data.

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