The five panellists in this discussion: Janet Barbookles, President of the Nova Ventures Group; William F. Detwiler, Managing Director of Fenbrook Management; Norman Rafael, Chief of Corporate Development and Investor Relations Officer of Armacell International; Rainer Röhrig, Chief Financial Officer of KPM Analytics; and Christian T. Staby, Head of Corporate Development/ M&A of Knorr-Bremse; together with panel head Melville D. Mummert, Managing Director and Head of European Investment Banking of Raymond James Financial discussed Cross-Border M&A from the United States and within Europe.
The panel first focused on the influence of technological progress, notably digitalization, on M&A transactions. The panellists concluded that data can help business users assess risk and develop investment and M&A strategies. This however has already been the case for a couple of years now. Knowing that it has become easy to collect data, the key to operating successfully in the M&A market has once again become decisiveness. Technology aids customers mainly with the identification of an attractive target and rationalizes the valuation of this target. It has therefore become the work of professionals not merely to provide the data, but also to get the potential buyer excited about the targeted firm.
The panel then turned towards the evaluation of market trends. To assure a good market position, it will become crucial in the future to combine and tie several businesses to one another creating highly profitable synergies. Because of this need, European companies should be more and more targeted by US firms in the future. This led the panel to discuss the importance of a legal culture facilitating and promoting the realization of synergies through acquisitions.
It was also stated that the increase on import taxes between the United States and China is strongly affecting the framework business as the United States is trying to contain China in its economic development. In 2017, the
most important tax reform was adopted, resulting in a decrease on corporation tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, which is very likely to impact the evaluation of the corporations.
The panellists then predicted that in the coming years, European high-technology companies will become more and more the target of M&A transactions.