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PwC New Zealand M&A Quarterly Update

For the First Quarter of 2022

Welcome to the latest PwC New Zealand M&A Quarterly Update. 

In this edition, we investigate M&A activity in New Zealand for the January to March 2022 quarter and find that strong deal activity continues. Deal volume is in line with levels seen throughout 2021 - a record year. A number of 2021 deals also continued into 2022 and have been announced in this first quarter.

We also look into how M&A activity is evolving in both the healthcare and edtech sectors and examine what’s driving the increased level of activity.

Strong New Zealand deal activity continues into 2022

Significant levels of deal activity continued during the first quarter of 2022 with 45 deals completed or announced. 

We expect to see robust deal activity continue throughout 2022 due to the significant amounts of capital still available in the market. Strong valuations and increasing market uncertainty may lead to business owners wanting to accelerate the timing of exits. At the same time, well-capitalised private equity firms remain a central driving force for deal flow.

Number of deals per quarter 2019 to 2022

In Q1 2022 45 deals were announced or completed.

Number of deals by sector and buyer type for Q1 2022
Number of deals by country and buyer type for Q1 2022

What the data reveals

Source: MergerMarket, CapitalIQ, Factiva, and Thompson Reuters Eikon and compiled by PwC.


Cross-border deal flow is strong and increasing

20 of the 45 deals (44%) in Q1 2022 involved offshore buyers. Australia (9 deals) and the USA (6 deals) continue to to drive international buyer activity, accounting for 15 deals (33%).

 


The Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector continues to see the most activity, while Financial Services and Industrials and Chemicals also feature prominently 

TMT (14 deals) accounted for almost a third of all activity during the quarter, noting that Financial Services (7 deals) and Industrials and Chemicals (5 deals) also featured strongly compared with previous quarters.



Private equity firms remain significant players in deal flow

9 of the 45 deals (20%) announced during Q1 2022 involved a private equity buyer, indicating the prevailing strength and capacity within the sector.


Unlocking M&A activity in the healthcare sector


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2:41

Gareth Galloway M&A video

Over the last couple of years M&A activity in the healthcare sector has significantly increased and valuations are higher than ever before. We have seen a number of substantial transactions in recent months including the sale of Evolution Healthcare, Canopy Cancer, Fertility Associates, Pacific Radiology, Obex Medical and The Selwyn Foundation’s aged care assets. Work on healthcare related transactions in the past year would represent circa 20% of PwC’s M&A related work.

In this article, we look at what’s been driving interest in the sector, the developing trends and how it’s shaping up for the future.

Watch Gareth Galloway, Partner, Deals Leader, discuss M&A in healthcare.

Click on the tabs below to learn more.

What’s been driving interest?

Several key factors have led to growing interest including:

COVID-19 has heightened investor awareness in the healthcare sector and the importance of the health system, leading to increased interest and activity.

New Zealand, like many countries, is facing demographic headwinds with an ageing population in need of health support.

Infrastructure investors are turning their attention to healthcare as they look to diversify away from traditional investment assets such as airports and ports, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

There is growing consumer demand for private healthcare provision.

The sector has received substantial government funding in terms of primary care, hospitals and also mental health.

Consumer awareness of health and wellbeing is on the rise, increasing demand for businesses - including those relating to cosmetic treatments and skincare.

Investment in healthcare supports the trend towards factoring ESG considerations into dealmaking.

What trends are developing?

Some investors are focusing on assets in the healthcare sector with an infrastructure angle. For example, there has been considerable M&A activity in relation to private hospitals and radiology clinics. These are typically assets with steady cash flow that is underpinned by government or insurance funding making them an attractive proposition.

We are also seeing an increased focus on labour force considerations as a key factor in deals, both in terms of workforce capacity and wage inflation pressure. A particularly acute issue is the current shortage of nurses that is impacted by border settings.

Consolidation of healthcare businesses is a growing trend as companies look to take advantage of economies of scale and optimise patient pathways through the health system. We’re also seeing ongoing consolidation in the aged care sector, which in addition to scale plays is also driven by larger players seeking development pipeline opportunities and enhanced continuum of care across their portfolio.

What's the outlook?

The wider New Zealand public health system reforms and the growing trend to focus on the needs of individual healthcare consumers are likely to generate continued activity in the sector. As part of this, there may be an opportunity for iwi groups to partner with institutional investors to drive improved health outcomes by supporting more efficient health services.

Health tech companies’ capital raising and M&A will likewise be a continued area of significant growth.

At the same time, with Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) remaining an area of interest and focus, healthcare assets will continue to be in demand. These assets reflect the sustainability goals driving many investors and their funders.

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By Gareth Galloway, Partner, Deals Leader

The wider New Zealand public health system reforms and the growing trend to focus on the needs of individual healthcare consumers are likely to generate continued activity in the sector.

Gareth Galloway, Partner - Deals Leader

Diving into M&A activity in the edtech sector


M&A activity in the education technology (edtech) sector is booming. Products that demonstrate improved learning outcomes and means of adapting learning to changing learner and teacher expectations are increasingly sought after. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 we have advised on three New Zealand based edtech transactions with international investors (Totara Learning, Education Perfect, The Mind Lab), and buyer interest in the sector is not showing any signs of reducing.

Data from EdTech New Zealand’s Aotearoa EdTech Excellence report shows a vibrant New Zealand edtech sector, with 90 edtech businesses recorded and over one third of these founded in the last five years. Many of these businesses are growing quickly, with 6% of local edtech firms earning over $20m revenue per year by serving a diverse range of learning needs ranging from online courses and assessments to digital education support to name a few.

In this article we explore why this sector is generating so much activity and the current outlook.

Watch Regan Hoult, Partner, Corporate Finance Leader, talk about the Edtech sector.

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2:25

Regan Hoult M&A Update

Click on the tabs below to learn more.

Like most aspects of our society, the education sector has gone through numerous challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These have accelerated changes in how students learn and how educators teach. Recent research indicates global edtech spending was US$164bn in 2019 and is projected to reach US$404bn by 2025 (Aotearoa EdTech Excellence report, EdTech New Zealand, March 2022).

The switch to increased learning from home, rather than in the classroom, has meant students have become more familiar with digital tools while technology has also become more accessible. There has been a need to create new ways for learners, teachers and partners to stay connected. At the same time, educators have found that students engage well with digital content and find it an attractive way to learn, leading to improved learning outcomes. 

Other trends such as gamification are also driving activity in the sector as a way of engaging students in learning, in particular younger students.

These changes mean edtech is now an important part of learning and development. As a result, edtech companies that have successfully embraced the trends have become increasingly attractive to both users and investors. We have seen the number and value of deals increase particularly since Q2 2020. It’s a trend that is likely to continue as the behavioural changes brought on by the pandemic remain with us.

In New Zealand we have many notable businesses in the sector performing at a world-class level including Education Perfect, Totara Learning, Kami, Hāpara and Crimson Global Academy. These companies have been able to scale offshore quickly - something that is notoriously difficult for New Zealand businesses. For domestic players, the local market remains relatively small.

Age of Aotearoa's Edtech Companies
Global Number of Edtech Deals (publicly disclosed)

What’s driving activity in the sector?

Several key trends are generating interest and activity in edtech:

The underlying sector thematics (e.g. growth, scalability, resilience) make edtech an attractive sector for investment.

Traditional education publishers are seeking to purchase digital platforms to aid with their own digital transformation (a recent example of which is McGraw Hill’s acquisition of Achieve 3000 in 2021).

The ability for meaningful data capture allows buyers to observe customer-level data and understand the product and sources of revenue i.e. ‘land-and-expand’ strategies.

There is market consolidation driven by some well-funded large players (listed, private-equity or VC backed) such as Learning Technologies Group and Think & Learn (BYJU’S).

The potential for content or customer acquisition - acquiring content to cross-sell to existing networks or selling content to a newly acquired customer base.

How edtech fits within ESG principles?

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) factors are becoming an increasingly important part of deal making. With ‘quality education’ as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, edtech is a sector that fits squarely within ESG considerations. For example, many edtech products have demonstrated a positive impact on children’s learning while the accessibility of digital tools means social mobility is improved in locations where learners don’t have easy access to education opportunities.

Recent Australasian transactions such as KKR Global Impact Fund’s investment in Education Perfect, Liverpool Partners’ Impact Multi Strategy Fund’s investment into The Mind Lab and the Impact Enterprise Fund’s investment in LearnCoach are examples of this ‘sustainability’ lens bringing value to the sector.

What’s the outlook for edtech?

We expect deal activity in the sector to remain strong underpinned by the attractive sector thematics and growth outlook which will continue to attract interest from investors.

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Article by: Regan Hoult, Partner, Corporate Finance Leader, Amy Ellis, Partner, ESG Deals Leader and Patrick Williams, Senior Associate

With ‘quality education’ as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, edtech is a sector that fits squarely within ESG considerations.

Regan Hoult, Partner - Corporate Finance Leader

How PwC can help

PwC NZ’s Corporate Finance and M&A team is the largest in the country, with a proven track record across a diverse range of sectors. We offer a full range of M&A advisory services including divestments, acquisitions, private equity, capital raisings and strategic relationships. 

Our links to the global network of PwC firms provides relationships with key global market participants, and our close relationship with our Australian colleagues ensures a comprehensive understanding of the Australasian marketplace.

Our M&A team has been ranked the number one firm for the amount of M&A deals by Thompson Reuters for the last 16 years.

Karl Dwight

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 396 361

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Murray Schnuriger

National Managing Partner - Markets & Growth, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 884 616

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Gareth Galloway

Deals Leader, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 983 519

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Amy Ellis

ESG Deals Leader, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 223 4554

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Rod Harris

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 22 657 6699

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Regan Hoult

Partner, Corporate Finance Leader, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 243 2378

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Richard Longman

Managing Partner, Wellington, Wellington, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 777 780

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Wayne Munn

Partner, Canterbury, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 918 289

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Craig Armitage

Canterbury Managing Partner and China Business Group Lead, Canterbury, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 616 232

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Phil Wheeler

Partner, Deals Strategy, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 779 166

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