Mar 7, 2024 - Business

Private deals powering U.S. corporate M&A

Bill Anderson at Tulane

Bill Anderson speaking at the Tulane Corporate Law Institute Event, March 7, 2024. Photo: Michael Flaherty/Axios

The majority of M&A transactions last year involved private companies, a significant shift for corporate America and the financiers who power deals, Evercore's Bill Anderson said Thursday.

Why it matters: The shift highlights how the balance of M&A power has moved to private equity firms and private credit providers in the last year.

Zoom in: "A lot of the sales happen from sponsor to sponsor," Anderson said, speaking at the Tulane Corporate Law Institute conference.

  • The activist defense banker, a senior managing director at Evercore, said private equity firms selling to other private equity firms comprised 58% of M&A last year.

Zoom out: Anderson also noted private credit providers taking the role that banks used to play in financing deals.

  • 'They're the new kids in town," he said. "They move quickly, and I think they're a permanent part of the landscape."
  • After Anderson's presentation, Paul Weiss partner Scott Barshay said that private equity deal volumes would be much lower if not for private credit. That said, he added that the syndicated loan market isn't dead, and that banks are getting back to lending.

Reality check: Anderson called the current antitrust environment "one of the most complicated" he can recall in his career, invoking Monty Python's iconic "None shall pass" scene on the slide screen.

One fun thing: Anderson referred to the massive drop in M&A in 2023 that picked up later in the year. He then showed a boardroom clip from "Succession," in which the patriarch pushes for a bigger deal.

  • "We all need more clients like Logan Roy," Anderson said.
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