The M&A market is facing multiple challenges that resulted in a notable decline in public takeover activities last year. In particular, the Russian war against Ukraine, the energy crisis, the turnaround in interest rates, supply chain issues, and the changing geopolitical environment are noteworthy. 

A good time to take a closer look at the current public takeover market by focusing on the following lead questions: How do German listed companies assess the current environment and its dynamic development, whether from a potential bidder's or from a potential target's perspective? How are bidders and target companies prepared for the scenario of a public takeover? When making their preparations, what is considered important and what is considered less important?

The present study summarizes the results of a survey among German listed companies that form part of the German lead indices DAX40, MDAX, and SDAX. As the current study is a new edition of the previous study published by Deutsches Aktieninstitut and White & Case in 2018, we have not just analyzed the current situation but compared key drivers as well as changes in the period from 2018 to 2023: What has changed in the last five years? Which trends can be observed?

Two main conclusions can be drawn from the current survey. First, in the view of the survey participants, although the current environment is difficult for potential bidders, the market for takeovers continues to provide various opportunities. Opportunities for bidders include using takeovers as a tool to help overcome the challenges stemming from the energy crisis and the march of digitalization. Second, the trend towards further professionalization among market participants continues unabated. Preparatory measures that were considered "nice to have" five years ago have now become standard.

The new study aims to support potential bidders and target companies and help them make their own assessments. The findings of the study are examined in greater depth in an editorial section where legal experts and practitioners share their insights on various aspects identified in the survey.

The full study is available in English or in German.

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This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not, and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Due to the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

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