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Energy M&A may not come until 2016: Experts

Plunging oil sparks M&A interest

Falling oil prices are stoking anticipation of mergers and acquisitions in the energy sector, but the bulk of that activity may not come until 2016, Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein told CNBC on Friday.

The reason: The valuations for energy sector companies may not have fallen far enough yet.

"You can have lot of M&A activity when prices are high, as we did, and you an have a lot of activity and will when prices are quite a bit lower. It's the interregnum when they're in the unsettled mode that you're going to have a more quiescent period," Schlosstein said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

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In previous declines in energy, dealmaking was measured in quarters and not months, Centerview Partners co-founder Blair Effron told "Squawk Box."

That is because energy companies first try to lay out a strategy for dealing with the new price environment, which takes considerable time, he said. Buyers must then determine the right valuation or stock price for any company, he said.

"You'd rather be there a little bit late than a little bit early," as a buyer, he said.

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Beyond energy, dealmaking is set to build on strong activity in 2014, and the current market volatility is not enough to derail mergers and acquisitions, Schlosstein and Effron said.

"We've got some positive momentum heading into this year. I think generally if we don't get an exogenous, confidence-destroying event—and I would not consider the volatility that we have in the market to be that sort of thing—that momentum will continue," Schlosstein said.

CEOs remain confident and M&A is off to a good start at $200 billion in activity in January, Blair added.