Deals and IPOs

We're in golden age for deals, says JPM's Cristerna

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Global market volatility has not stopped corporations cutting deals to support their growth strategies this year, in what has been a "golden age of M&A,"J.P. Morgan's co-head of global M&A, Hernan Cristerna, told CNBC.

Wednesday saw a string mergers and acquisitions (M&A) announcements, particularly in the semiconductor space.

Storage giant Western Digital announced a $19 billion cash-and-stock takeover of chipmaker SanDisk, at $86.50 per share. Lam Research announced merger with KLA-Tencor in another cash-and-stock deal worth $10.6 billion. Meanwhile, technology company SolarWinds said it was being taken private by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and Thoma Bravo for approximately $4.5 billion in cash.

Cristerna said that in the past 12 months, investor support for M&A had noticeably increased because shareholders recognized such moves as important growth strategies.

"I think CEOs are getting confident that markets and investors are supporting deal-making," he said.

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In the first three quarters of 2015, the total value of M&A deals announced worldwide was $3.41 trillion, according to a Dealogic report. The United States was the leading destination for M&A deals, followed by Asia Pacific excluding Japan (AXJ).

Cristerna noted Asia's buoyant M&A activity was driven largely by China. Chinese companies were trying to become more sophisticated by acquiring new technologies and value-added products and services, and re-exporting them abroad, he said.

An example was the recently announced nuclear deal between China and the United Kingdom, he noted.

During his tour of Britain this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China's first major investment in a Western nuclear facility; state-owned China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) will acquire a third of the planned 18 billion pound ($28 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear plant. The plant will be controlled by French power company EDF.

"[This is a] great example of how China is developing key technologies, often with the support of acquisitions, to then become an exporter of that technology going forward," said Cristerna.

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It has not been all good news for rainmakers, however. Recent high-profile deals that have fallen through include Swiss agribusiness Syngenta's rejection of rival Monsanto's $46 billion takeover bid.

Last week, a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report calculated that the failed mega-deals of 2014, such as pharma giant Pfizer's bid to acquire AstraZeneca and 21st Century Fox's courtship of rival Time Warner, cut the total monetary value of announced M&A by nearly 25 percent for the year.

The sectors that saw the highest number of failed deals last year were media, entertainment and telecoms (41 percent) and healthcare (39 percent).

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Georg Keienburg, principal at BCG's Cologne office and lead author of the report, told CNBC by email that this year could yet see a significant share of pulled M&A volume.

"In the first half of 2015, [approximately] 9.2 percent of transaction value has been withdrawn," he noted.

The key reason for failed deals was the ongoing trend of doing "very large, industry-reshaping deals" that face high regulatory hurdles from antitrust bodies.

"Uncertainty about interest rates and market environment will also contribute to this," added Keienburg.