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Business & Finance Series: Expert Comment

Outlook for M&A in 2019

Panel of industry experts discuss future trends in M&A at Cass

by Amy Ripley (Senior Communications Officer)

The M&A Research Centre at Cass Business School was pleased to host its ninth annual Outlook for M&A in 2019 panel discussion on Wednesday 30th January.

Professor Scott Moeller, Director of the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Research Centre, delivered a welcome address to students, alumni and industry practioners ahead of the panel discussion which was chaired by Susan Kilsby, Chair of the M&A Research Centre Advisory Board.

Ms Kilsby was joined by panellists from of some of the Centre’s sponsors including: Cyril Auger, Director, Ardian;  William Mansfield, Managing Director, Head of EMEA Financial Sponsors M&A, Credit Suisse; Jana Mercereau, Head of Human Capital M&A, Willis Towers Watson; David Petrie, Head of Corporate Finance, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW); John West, Managing Editor, EMEA, Mergermarket; and Philip Whitchelo, Vice President, Strategic Business Development, Intralinks.

The panel discussed the drivers that would impact the market during 2019, which included the impact of Brexit on transactions and on particular sectors; the rise of activism and its impact on the corporate world; and the impact of technology on M&A.

Although there was some disagreement on the panel of the direction of the market in 2019, most said the rise of the M&A and private equity markets since the last downturn was at a mature stage and more likely to pause or decline than increase for much longer.

Professor Moeller said he was delighted to welcome such a distinguished panel to Cass again, thanking them for sharing their insights with the audience.

“This is an exciting time to be in M&A and private equity.  Continuing global political and economic disorder, as well the potential disruption posed by Brexit present us with both challenges and opportunities. This event is an unmissable opportunity for students to hear from leading industry figures at the very top of their game and we are grateful that they could be with us this evening.”

The audience included students from across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Cass.  With this in mind, Professor Moeller asked the panel to suggest their advice for students who want to get ahead in the world of M&A where advisers need to be global, strategic and entrepreneurial to win deals and succeed.

Jana Mercereau, Head of Human Capital M&A, Willis Towers Watson said:

“Keep networking. It’s about who you know and where your jobs lead you to.  Keep meeting and talking to people and be flexible.”

David Petrie, Head of Corporate Finance, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said:

“Stay focused, think about the long-term and try to be different and stand out – remember your application will be one of many.”

Philip Whitchelo, Vice President, Strategic Business Development, Intralinks said:

“There are many traditional routes into M&A – for example, working in an investment bank or doing an internship.  However, you can also think about different ways into the industry including technology – something which has turned the industry upside down and is an interesting area to explore.”

Find out more about the M&A Research Centre here.

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  • M&A Outlook 2019 panel

    Photo by Cass Business School