China’s freeze on initial public offerings – regulators halted 28 IPOs earlier this month in response to the stock market rout, without providing a resumption date – wasn’t the best news for investment banks operating in the country.
In the first half of the year investment banking revenue in China was the highest on record, up 27% year-on-year, driven by fees from equity capital markets (ECM) deals, according to data from Dealogic. But the IPO ban looks set to make the next few months less busy for ECM bankers and to curtail – at least temporarily – any hiring plans they have in ECM.
For their counterparts in M&A, though, the freeze could potentially generate more business. “China’s move to halt new company listings on its stock markets is offering private equity firms, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds an opening to fill private companies’ funding needs, paving the way for more M&A activity,” reports Reuters. “The longer the freeze lasts, the more likely companies are to need funding from alternative, more costly financiers.”
“Long-term capital providers such as sovereign wealth funds and family offices will have a constructive role in China should the IPO markets remain shut down for an extended period,” Mayooran Elalingam, head of M&A, Asia-Pacific, at Deutsche Bank, told Reuters.
While any uptick in M&A is likely to keep existing bankers busy, it’s unlikely to see banks in China ramp up their advisory headcount. M&A revenues in the country are a fraction of those in either ECM or DCM, while some Chinese corporates are building their own in-house advisory teams.
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