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By a number of measures, it could be argued that it has been some time since the outlook for the M&A market looked healthier. The past year has seen a boom in deal making, with many markets seeing post-crisis peaks and some recording all time highs. Looking behind the headline figures, however, a number of factors suggest deal making may not continue to grow as rapidly as it has done recently.
One key driver affecting global figures is the widely expected rise of US interest rates. Cheap debt has played a significant part in the surge of US deal making in the first few months of 2015, and the prospects of a rate rise may have some dampening effects. However, the most recent indications have suggested that any rise will be gradual. Meanwhile, eurozone and UK interest rates look likely to remain low for some time further.
The eurozone returned to the headlines in June as the prospect of a Greek exit looks increasingly real. Even assuming Greece remains in the euro, the crisis has severely damaged the relationship between Greece and its creditors. The brinksmanship exhibited by all parties means that meaningful progress cannot occur except at the conclusion of a crisis: the idea that reform will benefit Greece has been lost and each measure extracted by creditors is couched as a concession. However, whilst the political debate has become ever more fractious, the market’s response to the crisis has been relatively sanguine. This is largely a result of the fact that the volume of Greek debt is no longer in the market, but in the hands of institutions. But it is also a sign of the general market recovery and expectations that major economies will continue to grow.