Asia M&A bonanza fueled by Southeast Asia, private equity deals

Asian merger and acquisition activity surged to its second-highest level ever in the first-half as Southeast Asian deals hit records, and bankers expect the momentum to be maintained the rest of the year.

Announced deals involving Asian companies came to 708 billion dollars in January to June, up by 75 percent from the same period last year, not far off the record of 759 billion dollars in the first half of 2018.

Southeast Asian deals jumped 83 percent to a record 125 billion dollars driven by transactions including ride-hailing giant Grab’s 40 billion-dollar merger with U.S. special-purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth.

Bankers expect Southeast Asia to remain a big focus for deal-making. Other chunky deals included the 18 billion-dollar merger of Grab’s Indonesian rival Gojek with local e-commerce firm Tokopedia, and a 15 billion-dollar merger of Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group and Norway’s Telenor.

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