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In 2018, Asia eclipsed Europe (excl. the UK) for the first time in the number of activist campaigns. The clear hotbed is Japan where these campaigns increased by 40% to 47, more than in any other country outside the U.S. Dealing with the challenge to more pro-actively communicate with capital markets Japanese companies will provide a valuable lesson to their peers in Europe and Asia.
Over the course of 2018, speculation suggesting that Private Equity (PE) faces an imminent crisis has intensified. A surplus of investor cash chasing returns, persistently low-interest rates and a shortage of investible assets have combined to fuel concerns of a slowdown in the market.
Japan Inc. has outstripped European companies in overseas M&A during the first half of 2018 according to figures of Deallogic looking at vice-versa FDI between the U.S. , Europe and Japan.
Japan`s corporate governance code was introduced in 2015 and has already brought many changes. The number of non-core business carve-out deals and take private deals has clearly increased since then. I would even argue that the dismantling of Toshiba would not have occurred the way it did without the earlier introduction of this code incl. stricter disclosure rules.
Investor interest in private equity funds continues to break records. The low interest rate environment and sheer amount of money in the market has not only fuelled the number of deals at historic high valuations, but has left many funds with significant amounts of cash burning a hole in their pockets.