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135%


THEVALUEOFCROSS-BORDERM&A ACTIVITY IN1Q2021INCREASEDBY 135%COMPAREDWITH1Q2020


GLOBALOUTLOOKNEWS


Covid-19fuels techinterest


SURVEY SHOWS POST-PANDEMIC FDI WILL BE PLOUGHED INTO MARKETS RICH IN R&D AND INNOVATION


Record high for M&As


During the first quarter of 2021, the value of cross-bordermergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity totalled $457.8bn, an increase of 135%from thesame period a year earlier. The Technology, Financials and


Industrials sectors accounted for 46% of cross-border deals during the first three months of 2021, downfrom 55% in 2020. The largest cross-border deal was announced by railway group Canadian Pacific, which has agreed to buy Kansas City Southern for $28.9bn, as it plans to create the first railroad from Mexico to Canada. Worldwide M&A activity


Plugging tech: R&D capabilities is becoming increasingly important for those looking to invest overseas DATAANALYSIS


Investors are prioritising innova- tion and researchand develop- ment (R&D) capabilities in their decision-making, as Covid-19 sharp- ens their focus on high value-added investments, a recent survey of 500 business leaders has found. The results of Kearney’s latest


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index suggest advanced economies, with their relatively mature tech ecosystems, have an edge in the intensifying competition for FDI flows which have been slashed by the pandemic. The 2021 ranking of countries


likely to attract the most FDI over the next three years continues to be dominated by developed markets, which take 22 of the top 25 spots for the third year running. The US continues its nine-year stint in pole position, followed by Canada, Germany and the UK. Speaking at the report’s launch,


co-author and Kearney partner Erik Peterson said the results are driven not only by investors’ preference for safety and stability, but also their desire to “assign priority to destina- tions with strong infrastructure and investment in tech and innovation.” This is reflected by the shift in


what is considered the most impor- tant host-country criteria, with R&D capabilities jumping from


6


seventh to third place. Tech and innovation capabilities holds onto second-place, beaten only margin- ally by tax considerations, while the quality of local talent moves up three places to 15th. Kearney forecasts a long-haul


recovery for global FDI, with 2016’s $2tn levels not expected until 2028 at the earliest. But senior partner Ettore Pastore expects no slowdown in automation, IT, digitisation or artificial intelligence investments for the foreseeable future. “It is obvious that in recent


years, FDI occurs only when there is a very high [component] of innova- tion. And this, of course, is logically correlated to developed markets,” he said. The pandemic’s acceleration of


technology and geopolitical tensions, which has created trade friction and supply chain risks, is radically changing the global invest- ment calculus, according to Kearney’s Paul Laudicina, who founded the index 23 years ago. “The world is in the midst of a


dramatic rethink of FDI as corporate investors reflect on where they need to be and with what kind of resources,” he said. “Frankly, it’s not since the late 1990s that we have seen such a fundamental global stra- tegic recalibration by businesses.■ DANIELLEMYLES


reached $1.3tn in the first quarter of 2021, marking its strongest opening period for four decades, as private equity-backed buyouts hit an all-time high and special purpose acquisition companies rose in popularity to account for 17% of the quarterly value. Meanwhile, the number of worldwide deals was up by 9% on 2020. ■ ALEXIRWIN-HUNT


Yellencalls formininum taxrate


The US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum corporate tax rate on April 5, as the Biden administration pushed its proposed $2tn infrastructure and jobs proposal aimed at increasing the US corporate tax rate to 28%. Ms Yellen said in a speech to the


Chicago Council on Global Affairs that the US was working with G20 nations to agree on a global minimum tax that can stop the “race to the bottom” and ensure governments have sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods. “Together, we can use global


minimum tax to make sure that the global economy thrives, based on a more level playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations, and spurs innovation, growth and prosperity,” she said. ■ ALEXIRWIN-HUNT


www.fDiIntelligence.com April/May 2021


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