This year is already shaping up to be a big one for New Zealand mergers and acquisitions, with $3.5 billion in value set to be wiped off the local sharemarket, JBWere said.
The investment and brokerage firm said the “disturbing” trend of merger and acquisition activity continued throughout 2018, which was the busiest since 2012.
“We estimate about $1.5 billion in value was wiped from the NZX following successful takeovers,” JBWere said in its annual equity ownership survey.
“Looking ahead, 2019 looks set to dwarf this with about $3.5b worth of transactions still subject to takeover approval,” it said.
This year, the takeover of Trade Me by private equity company Apax for $2.5b, subject to shareholder and court approvals, looks set to top the M&A list.
JBWere said foreign ownership of New Zealand-listed stocks rose by 1 per cent to 39 per cent last year – the highest point since 2007.
Foreign ownership of New Zealand equities has fluctuated from 44 per cent in 2005 to as low 22 per cent over 2014 and 2015, JBWere data shows.
The local market remained an attractive destination for offshore investors over the year.
The aggregated offshore ownership level included Australian investors owning about 16 per cent of the total float of the S&P/NZX All Index.
The survey consisted of 64 companies, accounting for 95.6 per cent of the S&P/NZX All Index in terms of total market capitalisation.