M&A: Coronavirus and Cross-Border Investment

Cross-border M&A activity is accelerating across a range of workforce and education segments, from education and training to career navigation, job search, workforce alignment, AI matching and productivity. This will not be a shock to many observers, although simply transacting across borders can require quarantine for 14 days or conducting endless due diligence meetings via Zoom, both adding extra layers of unwanted risk and time delays in getting a deal done (I can attest to this…).

However, as our updated database indicates there were over 20 cross-border acquisitions between between December 2019 and October 2020 and most of that occurring through the Covid-19 pandemic. Comparative historical data for the past few years suggests that current trends are set to accelerate beyond what we’ve seen in the past, perhaps (again) not surprising in the face of such unprecedented disruption and opportunity across global labor markets.

Geographically, key investors were based in the US, China, and parts of Europe with Europe and North America being the deepest target regions for consolidation and new investment. You can expect that as the pandemic abates, there will be more outbound investment trends from the US and EU, particularly within labor-intensive Asia.

A few figures follow with geographic and related data.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash