6 biggest business deal themes we're watching in 2024
Continued pressures from regulators, inflation and Fed rate moves will dictate private markets and dealmaking in 2024.
What they're saying: The Axios Pro deals team, including Dan Primack, share their thoughts and reporting on what the year ahead holds below.
Media deals: With Hollywood's strikes and a decade-low year for global M&A activity now in the rearview, media deals are expected to flow this year, Axios Pro Media's Tim Baysinger and Kerry Flynn said.
- The CEOs of Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global met in December to discuss a possible merger, Axios scooped.
- Vice was among the companies cutting their workforces amid ad market volatility in November.
- Netflix indicated interest in acquiring NBA rights, joining the ranks of other tech companies expecting to bid.
Health tech deals: Erin Brodwin and Aaron Weitzman of Axios Pro Health Tech are monitoring insurance company mergers, women's health startups, PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) shifts, and potential new treatment areas for GLP-1s.
- Cigna is reportedly in advanced talks to sell its Medicare Advantage business to Health Care Service Corp.
- FDA-approved breast pump company Annabella seeded $8.5 million in January. New legislation in the U.S. has bolstered pregnancy accommodations and support.
- CVS Health's new drug pricing plan in December marked the latest move by pharmacies to offer more transparent pricing.
Retail deals: High on the watchlist for Axios Pro Retail's Richard Collings and Kimberly Chin are Shein's IPO, completion of the Kroger-Albertsons deal, and luxury market consolidation.
- Shein's IPO is expected to launch mid-to-late 2024, but industry analysts said election season could accelerate the timing.
- Lawmakers in December pushed back on Kroger's proposed divestitures, providing ammunition for the FTC's potential challenge.
- Online luxury retailer Farfetch agreed to a $500 million rescue in December as the overall luxury space sees a slowdown in spending.
Climate tech deals: For alternative energy industries, Axios Pro Climate's Katie Fehrenbacher sees 2024 as a year of reality checks when the boom in clean energy incentive projects meets inflationary pressure.
- The U.S. Treasury Department sparked debate in January over its final guidance for a green hydrogen tax credit, which holds the potential to spur some projects and kill off others.
- Ørsted scrapped its New Jersey offshore wind projects, citing macroeconomic factors and recording $4 billion in impairments in November.
Fintech: Whether it's banks dealing with Zelle scams or a growing number of proposals to regulate buy now, pay later, Axios Pro Fintech's Lucinda Shen sees 2024 as a year where fintech businesses have to button up on compliance.
Overall market expectations: Stock market bulls rampaged in 2023, while private markets remained sluggish. Expect a major acceleration in venture capital and private equity activity, Pro Rata's Dan Primack said.