Press release

23 Aug 2021

Asia-Pacific M&A hit highest value on record fueled by technological innovation and ESG agendas

Hong Kong – 23 AUGUST 2021 – Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity hit an all-time high in the first six months of 2021 as markets begin to revive from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Press contact
Konstantinos Makrygiannis

EY Global Consulting and Strategy and Transactions Media Relations and Social Media Associate Director

Media relations and social media professional. Can talk about planes, traveling and politics for hours on end. Aspiring jockey.

Related topics Mergers and acquisitions
  • M&A targeting technology companies hit a record high in Asia-Pacific
  • Tech, advanced manufacturing and mobility sectors topped regional deal activity
  • Inbound value reached a historical high due to the biggest Asean inbound deal ever recorded

Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity hit an all-time high in the first six months of 2021 as markets begin to revive from the COVID-19 pandemic. M&A values targeting the region increased to US$535b, up from US$284b in the same period last year, according to new analysis by EY.

Despite many parts of the global economy still operating under restrictions, cross-border transactions have also staged an impressive comeback, increasing by almost three times year-on-year to US$159b.

There were more than 50 deals over US$1b announced targeting Asia-Pacific so far this year, increasing by almost five times year-on-year. The technology sector continues to lead deal activity in the region, accounting for almost one-third (28%) of the cumulative deal value in the first half of 2021. M&A targeting technology companies hit a record high in the region, with deal value increasing by 88% year-on-year. The advanced manufacturing and mobility sectors were the subsequent most active in terms of deal activity.

Yew-Poh Mak, EY Asia-Pacific Strategy and Transactions Leader, says:

“The pandemic has propelled innovation and significant business transformation across all industries. In the tech sphere, M&A activity in Asia-Pacific has been fueled by the emergence of next-gen technological applications, such as industrial Internet of Things (IoT), AI, electric vehicles and sustainable, fuel-efficient technologies. For advanced manufacturers who pursued M&A, the primary activity has been bolt-on acquisitions in the same sector designed to increase market share or transformative deals that would enable a more sustainable business model.”

Mak adds: “Consolidation is a means for businesses to combine and complement their strengths to differentiate themselves and, in the technology sector, to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment, and to gain market share.”

Outbound value in Asia-Pacific rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels to US$85b. The inbound value reached a historical high at US$74b, jumping by more than 170% compared to the pre-COVID19 pandemic average.

Like Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe have witnessed record growth, with transaction value totalling US$1.6tn – almost double the average seen in the five years prior to the pandemic – and US$653b, respectively.

ESG-related acquisitions drive global deal activity

In addition, M&A activity in the renewable energy sector almost tripled globally in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period last year, as CEOs look to meet ambitious environmental targets through transactions. The value of these environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related deals has jumped from US$35.7b in 1H 2020 to US$96.5b in 1H 2021.

Andrea Guerzoni, EY Global Vice Chair – Strategy and Transactions says: “ESG is increasingly becoming an integral part of investment decisions, with many CEOs and investors committing to adapt their current and future deal strategies with sustainability and long-term value creation at the forefront.” 

Asia-Pacific M&A deal appetite at highest level since 2010

Looking forward, the appetite for deals in Asia-Pacific is at its highest level since 2010, with almost 90% of companies in the region indicating that they are on the lookout for cross-border acquisitions in the next 12 months, according to the EY Capital Confidence Barometer. 65% globally are considering M&A within the same time frame.

Mak says: “Digitalization remains paramount in Asia-Pacific and globally. Companies are actively putting customer expectations at the center of their plans. One aspect that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the splintering of value chains, both upstream to suppliers and downstream to customers due to the repeated lockdowns. Any acquisition of emerging technology and innovative solutions will enable companies to scale up their existing technological capabilities, accelerate the digitalization of the customer journey and to transform business processes. 

“Identifying potential areas of growth to make acquisitions and making the difficult decision to divest underperforming assets are both firmly on the corporate agenda in the Asia-Pacific and worldwide.”


Notes to Editors

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets.

Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate.

Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.