Deals and IPOs

Corporate matchmakers cash in on M&A boom

Seamus Conwell, special to
Business matchmaking in the 21st century

As a growing number of firms look to snap up businesses in the hot merger and acquisitions market, one entrepreneur has founded a corporate matchmaking start-up - kind of like a dating site for companies.

Global M&A will top $3.4 trillion dollars in 2017, according to recent research by Oxford Economics and Baker & McKenzie. That's up from an expected $2.7 trillion this year.

It's an attractive figure, and one that spurred Brian Pallas to found Opportunity Network last year. It's an online platform that allows CEOs to offer up global business opportunities, such as a potential M&A deals or supply-chain partnerships.

Initially the posts are anonymous, but all must be worth over $1 million.

Jan Stromme | Stone | Getty Images

"The only way to be on our network is to be sponsored by a financial institution or a bank," Pallas told CNBC on Friday, as Opportunity Network confirmed a deal with the London Stock Exchange. Banks and financial companies like the London Stock Exchange pay for access to the Opportunity Network, which is then offered to their clients.

"Because of (the partnerships) we know the quality of the company being brought into the network," he added.

Read MoreWhy M&A is on a tear in 2015

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Opportunity Network isn't the only company keen to cash in on the deal-making market. MergersClub and DealNexus are two other apps that are attracting attention from M&A advisors.

Both services provide M&A networks, and are free to browse but charge a premium if users want more information.

There are, however, fears that the booming number of M&A deals could be set for a slowdown. Indeed, Opportunity Network's Pallas conceded that we are currently in a "hyped" market, but argued that the company's diversification into supply-chain agreements meant that "(no) specific cycle is beneficial or detrimental for us specifically."

Beatriz Araujo, corporate partner at Baker & McKenzie, said that anything which increases trust in the growing cross-border M&A market "might be a useful tool," but stressed that the initial connection was "only the start of the journey."

Speaking to CNBC, she said that for services like Opportunity Network to work they needed to build trust in the market.

"Building trust is a long term game - it arrives on foot but leaves on horseback, as the saying goes," she said. "And central to building that trust is a due diligence process which meets the expectations of both parties."

Read MoreM&A surges, but it may not last