Since 2022, high interest rates coupled with intensified anti-trust scrutiny cast a shadow over dealmaking. There was a notable decline in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2023, particularly in the technology sector, and a significant slump in private equity deal volume. For the first time since 2013, transaction volumes failed to reach the $3 trillion mark, reflecting the profound shift across the M&A landscape.

The Early Signs of M&A Resurgence

Early signs indicate that 2024 could tell a different story. Inflation continues to drift towards the Federal Reserve’s 2.0% target, increasing the odds for more capital markets activity, and strategic and financial buyers are eager to resume acquisitions to augment growth initiatives. With anticipation for a turnaround within the first half of the year, organizations must start planning accordingly.

One of the earliest signs of the M&A market rebounding is the renewed sense of interest and activity from our “serial acquirer” clients.  After a slow 2023, they are planning to resume their acquisition activities in 2024. These entities, which may acquire an average of 10-12 companies annually, show a renewed appetite for strategic expansion and consolidation within various industries.

Moreover, the substantial pool of available capital fuels the anticipation of a resurgence. Private equity firms in the U.S. alone are sitting on a staggering $1.0 trillion of dry powder, awaiting stabilization of interest rates and recalibration of valuations to more compelling levels. This influx of capital signals potential opportunities for deal-making and strategic investments, a promising sign for the market.

Considerations for Return of Capital Markets Activity

With economic conditions pointing toward increased confidence and a soft landing in 2024, finance leaders should prepare their organization for a return to capital markets activity. There are a range of outcomes the markets could experience this year, and taking the necessary steps to prepare your organization for the anticipated uptick in capital markets activity is an effective way to get ahead of competitors in the marketplace.

Plan for Due Diligence

Embarking on capital markets activity necessitates a thorough understanding of the information required for due diligence, from financial records and legal documentation to operational metrics and tax implications. The due diligence process demands meticulous attention to detail, and initiating this process early enables organizations to identify gaps in information and areas requiring additional support.

Organizations should identify individuals with the requisite skills and experience to navigate the complexities of M&A transactions while assessing the need for external advisors and legal support to bolster their team’s capabilities. Leveraging experts can provide invaluable insights across various service lines, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

Understand Regulatory Requirements

Regulatory landscapes are dynamic, and compliance requirements are constantly evolving. Staying abreast of these changes and understanding their implications is essential to ensuring a seamless transaction process.

A comprehensive understanding of regulatory nuances empowers organizations to navigate potential hurdles and mitigate compliance risks effectively. These nuances can include tax issues and implications, which play a pivotal role in influencing deal structuring and overall financial outcomes, as well as financial reporting requirements, which ensure transparency with all necessary stakeholders.


Following the acquisition, the post-transaction integration process requires purposeful attention for organizations to realize synergies and maximize the value of the transaction. Proactive planning and execution of integration strategies facilitate a seamless transition, minimizing disruptions and optimizing operational efficiency.

The focus shifts towards aligning the acquired entity and existing organizational structures and operations, which includes harmonizing systems, processes, and cultures to create a cohesive framework conducive to achieving shared goals. Strategic alignment guides decision-making, ensuring efforts are directed toward optimizing synergies and minimizing redundancies.

Staying Attuned to Ongoing Issues

Despite the hopeful markets, the M&A landscape in 2024 will not be without its challenges, and it is important to keep a pulse on how these challenges may impact an organization’s success. For strategic M&A, becoming well-versed in the most recent cost of capital and valuation assumptions is critical to ensure the deal is priced fairly. With many organizations having already implemented cost-cutting measures in 2023, the potential for cost synergies may be limited, necessitating a thorough evaluation of deal structures and strategic rationale.

In addition to the limited potential to synergize costs of new acquisitions, organizations exploring acquisitions will face increased monitoring, scrutiny and regulation. In the current situation, organizations must use caution and diligence while navigating their M&A activity. While the evolving compliance and regulation environment may cause organizations to proceed with M&A cautiously, it should not impede the upward trajectory of M&A activity. Instead, it underscores the importance of thorough due diligence and compliance to mitigate risks and ensure the success of transactions.

Count On WM to See You Through Your Entire M&A Journey

WilliamsMarston’s advisory, tax and valuation experts are here to help organizations through every step of the M&A process, from buy-side or sell-side due diligence to post-M&A support. WM experts help companies think about getting ahead of what is needed to increase their acquisition activity and are ready to plan for diligence, tax issues and implications, financial reporting requirements, and integration. WM professionals will ensure you move forward in full compliance with all regulatory requirements to grow and expand successfully.