After pandemic-induced lull, 2021 begins with a bang for Indian M&As

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After a lull in M&A activity last year, 2021 has begun with a bang for dealmakers in India.

Sixty-six transactions, worth a combined $7.9 billion, were closed during January and February 2021, compared with $6.9 billion and 80 deals in the first two months of 2020, according to data available with research firm Venture Intelligence.

In terms of value, this is a meagre 16% year-on-year jump, but it is worth noting that some of the transactions closing now were initiated mid-last year when the pandemic was at its peak in the country.

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M&A Transactions in Jan-Feb

YearNo. of DealsDeals with announced valuesAmount ($ Bln) 
202166307.9
202080416.9
20191126210.2
2018955312.6
201786493.5
2016101484.8
Source: Venture Intelligence

Among the significant deals closed this year is the acquisition of Dewan Housing Finance by Piramal Group for $5.2 billion in January 2021. Meanwhile, Aakash Educational Services was bought by edtech unicorn Byju’s, which has recently raked in hordes of capital from investors.

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Top M&As in Jan-Feb 2021

CompanyAcquirerAmount ($ Mln)Date 
Dewan Housing FinancePiramal Group5240Jan
Aakash Educational ServicesByjus Classes1000Jan
Magma FincorpRising Sun Holdings474.67Feb
Mumbai International AirportAdani Enterprises231.52Feb
ONGC Mangalore PetrochemicalsMangalore Refining and Petrochemicals166.5Jan
Source: Venture Intelligence

M&As are gaining traction across diverse spheres, said Arun Natarajan, founder of research firm Venture Intelligence and, going forward, the momentum is likely to continue.

“M&As have been steadily growing in sectors such as edtech, healthcare, renewables, and financial services, among others,” said Natarajan. The pandemic actually did not halt acquisitions. It, in fact, threw up opportunities across all segments for consolidation.”

Over the last few months, India has witnessed a spate of transactions that were opportunistic in nature, wherein companies moved quickly to strengthen their presence in sectors that withstood the pandemic. Edtech is a classic example of that.

Besides, distressed transactions also started gaining steam with capital requirements going up as companies tried to survive in the post-lockdown world.

Going forward, experts said domestic consolidation could well become the theme as the Indian government’s efforts to privatise bluechip, state-owned undertakings such as BPCL kickstarts.

During 2020, the total amount that corporates spent on M&A activity stood at $28 billion, the lowest in five years. In 2019 and 2018, the amounts were $46 billion and $96 billion, respectively.

Source: Venture Intelligence

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.