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GDPR Burdens Hinder M&A Transactions in the EMEA Region, According to Merrill Corporation Survey

Nov 12, 2018

Merrill Corporation survey highlights future challenges for EMEA dealmakers when complying with regulations, accelerating deals and harnessing the power of data.

An increasing number of M&A transactions may be stalling because of concerns over GDPR compliance, according to a survey of EMEA M&A professionals conducted by Merrill Corporation, the leading SaaS provider for professionals in the deal making community.

Overall, the survey highlights the significant role due diligence plays in determining M&A success, while providing insight into the challenges faced by M&A professionals today. The implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stood out as a major hurdle for mergers and acquisitions, with more than half of respondents (55 percent) citing the compliance and data protection employed by the target company as a primary reason a transaction did not progress. Additionally, 66 percent of those surveyed believe that GDPR will increase acquirers’ scrutiny of the data protection policies and processes of target companies, further complicating the deal-making process.

Technology’s Role in Due Diligence

When it came to technology, respondents identified artificial intelligence and machine learning (46 percent) and predictive analytics (37 percent) as the technologies that will have the most long-term transformative impact on M&A due diligence. Notably, however, blockchain technology was not identified as a technology with a transformative role.

More than any other factor, 32 percent of those surveyed said that being able to harness the information with data analytics technologies would most help in accelerating the due diligence process. Over the next five years, EMEA M&A professionals expect technology to change the due diligence process by providing greater security (63 percent), supporting deeper analytical capabilities (61 percent), and simplifying the entire process (45 percent).

“The EMEA M&A environment faces a unique set of challenges as it looks to comply with new regulations and privacy requirements,” said Hilary London, Chief Revenue Officer and General Manager for EMEA at Merrill Corporation. “As we track transactions, it will be very telling how these challenges will impact organizations’ due diligence processes. Streamlining transactions via increased accessibility of transaction data will support greater transparency and enhance compliance, strengthening M&A activity in this market.”

Success Factors in M&A

Effectively executing within the M&A landscape can be a tumultuous process, but according to respondents, the key to successfully managing the M&A process is conducting thorough due diligence (65 percent), planning and executing the integration process (49 percent), identifying/screening/prioritising targets (35 percent) and understanding and addressing cultural issues (32 percent). 

Conversely, while these factors would help practitioners successfully navigate this landscape, there are still many challenges. Those surveyed believe that technology could bring simplified and coherent solutions to reviewing and analyzing contract text (70 percent), running multiple scenario analyses and financial modelling (52 percent), and visualizing financial performance data (41 percent).

Survey Methodology

A total of 539 M&A professionals from Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA) were surveyed by Merrill Corporation and Euromoney in July 2018. The data gathered from the survey informed the DueDiligence2022 report, published by Merrill Corporation.

To download the full report please click here.

About Merrill Corporation

Merrill Corporation is a global leader in SaaS solutions for M&A, communications and secure business collaboration. Clients trust Merrill’s innovative applications, unparalleled customer service and in-depth subject expertise to successfully navigate the secure sharing of their most sensitive content. Their flagship product, Merrill DatasiteOne, helps users in over 170 countries close more deals, faster.

To learn more, visit www.merrillcorp.com.

About Merrill Corporation

Merrill Corporation provides technology-enabled platforms for secure content sharing, regulated communications and disclosure services. Clients trust Merrill’s innovative applications and deep subject expertise to successfully navigate the secure sharing of their most sensitive content, perfect and distribute critical financial and regulatory disclosures, and create customized communications across stakeholders. With more than 3,000 people in 34 locations worldwide, clients turn to Merrill when their need to manage complex content intersects with the need to collaborate securely around the globe.

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