PwC New Zealand M&A Quarterly Update

For the Fourth Quarter of 2023

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

In this edition, we investigate M&A activity in New Zealand for October to December 2023.  

We also discuss how M&A activity is shaping up for 2024 and the trends we’re seeing in infrastructure M&A.

PwC has been the number one mid-market M&A advisor in New Zealand for the last 18 years

Eikon Refinitiv League Tables, rank by number of deals

Deal activity

Deal activity continued across the wider market during Q4 with 50 deals announced, an increase (39%) from 36 deals in Q3:

Private investors (high-net-worth individuals and private equity firms) accounted for 22% of total deals (11 deals), up from 14% (5 deals) in Q3.

46% of deals in Q4 (23 deals) involved domestic buyers, compared to 56% (20 deals) in Q3.

Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) emerged as the most active sector, accounting for 28% of deal activity (14 deals), followed by the Business Services sector at 20% (10 deals).

Number of deals per quarter 2020 to 2023

In Q4 2023 50 deals were announced

Number of deals by sector and buyer type

Number of deals by country and buyer type

The data has been filtered to exclude: (i) real estate transactions; (ii) early stage venture capital transactions where size is stated or estimated to be less than $1.5m; (iii) transactions announced but yet to complete; (iv) other transactions where applicable. 

Sources: Mergermarket, CapitalIQ, Eikon (17 January, 2024)

2024 M&A Outlook

Watch Swathi Parikh, Partner, discuss the developing opportunities for buyers and sellers in the coming year.  

Click on the tabs below to learn more.

Playback of this video is not currently available


Swathi video

2023 was one of the worst years for M&A in a decade. While economic headwinds remain and many of the same challenges such as stubborn inflation pressures persist, some green shoots are starting to appear. We believe there is likely to be a return to more normal conditions without the overhang of Covid-19 and recessionary fears, interest rate hikes and the New Zealand general election. According to PwC's Global 2024 M&A industry trends, 60% of CEOs plan to make acquisitions in the next three years.

Looking ahead, there are several factors that may drive deal activity in 2024:

  • Family offices are becoming more sophisticated in their investment strategies with allocation of capital to M&A on the rise. 
  • Financial markets and valuations are predicted to improve with decreasing inflation and anticipated interest rate reductions. 
  • The S&P 500 has seen an increase of 17% since November 2023, and the NZX50 has recovered by over 10% from its low of 10,741 in October 2023.

Last year presented some challenges for deal activity, but several key themes are expected to persist in 2024:

  • Many privately owned businesses are still grappling with succession issues, particularly with vendors in their 70s and 80s. 

  • There has been a significant amount of private equity raised and it is ready to be invested. 

  • Trade buyers have played a prominent role in transactions, driven by the need for companies to adapt and transform, leading to strategic acquisitions and divestment of non-core or underperforming assets. 

  • Dealmakers are increasingly open to executing more complex deals. For example, carve-outs, earn-outs and different capital structures. 

  • CEOs and private equity funds are placing a growing emphasis on creating value quickly, particularly through technology investment and/or acquisition. 

  • Despite ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical risks, dealmakers will possibly feel more confident due to improving financial markets, pent-up deal demand, and the necessity for companies to adapt and transform their business models.

We believe that current conditions are favourable for businesses. Asset prices remain relatively strong, interest rates are peaking, and there is demand from buyers and investors for high-quality businesses. For those considering strategic options or looking to sell, the market conditions are looking more positive.

Due to demand from buyers and investors, when high-quality assets are available, there is significant interest and competition in the market. In these situations, being prepared and acting quickly, including utilising vendor due diligence, can be crucial in unlocking additional value.

If you are seeking to raise capital, there are various sources available, including specialised funds such as ESG or core plus, kiwisaver, private credit funds, and family offices. At PwC, we are engaged in discussions with a wide range of investors and can assist in positioning your business appropriately.

Business leaders are adapting to global trends like AI, climate change, and demographic shifts. Selling non-essential or underperforming assets also allows companies to focus resources on strategic growth.

Whether you are a buyer or seller, the PwC team is ready to have an initial conversation to discuss your objectives.


By Swathi Parikh, Partner, PwC New Zealand

Infrastructure M&A - Global and New Zealand Trends

The infrastructure sector typically includes stable businesses that are asset-based and operate in various industries such as social infrastructure, transport, communications, energy, utilities and resources. These businesses often provide essential services, are supported by regulation or long term contracts, and many benefit from high barriers to entry. They also tend to have limited commercial risk and offer good long-term visibility.

However, it’s important to note that the investment risk profiles for infrastructure assets and the risk appetite of investors differ. Some investments in the sector may be more oriented towards risk or opportunistic in nature. While infrastructure is typically considered low risk and lower capital cost, there are a significant portion where investments may have characteristics and target returns that align closer with private equity-style investments.  

Watch Simon Healy, Partner, outline the trending themes we are seeing across infrastructure M&A. 


Playback of this video is not currently available


Simone video

Click on the tabs below to learn more.

In 2023, we saw a decrease in infrastructure M&A activity globally. The total value of infrastructure M&A deals was NZ$529 billion, spread across 1,498 transactions. This represents a 23% decline in the number of deals and a 48% decline in deal value compared to 2022. Rising interest rates and economic uncertainty exacerbated the valuation gap between buyers and sellers and placed pressure on funding costs and access. This is a deviation from the steady growth and increased transaction volumes seen in the industry over the past five years. 

New Zealand’s infrastructure M&A followed the global trend, although off a small transaction base. Over the last five years, there were 87 infrastructure M&A deals announced, with 2022 being a standout year for activity in the post Covid, low interest rate environment. However, in 2023 there was a reduction compared to these 2022 highs, with only 16 deals announced with a value of roughly NZ$6 billion. This is just over a third of the aggregate value seen in 2022, which was NZ$16 billion.

Despite the decline in global and New Zealand M&A activity in 2023, there is still strong interest in infrastructure assets that align with global megatrends such as decarbonisation, or with entrenched customer bases, strong market positions and contractual and regulatory protections. In this respect, the Energy and Telecommunications sectors have become an increasingly large proportion of the infrastructure M&A activity in New Zealand.

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, Mergermarket, Refinitiv Eikon, Infralogic and PwC Analysis (January 31, 2024).

Key investors in infrastructure include both corporate and financial players. Corporate investors typically seek strategic investments that align with their core capabilities or contribute to sector growth and portfolio optimisation to drive shareholder value. Financial investors, on the other hand, often take a broader sector approach and can be typically categorised based on their fund risk-return profiles and investment strategies. These financial investors include sovereign wealth, infrastructure funds, investment firms, insurance companies and pension funds. 

Pension and insurance funds typically have long term horizons and prioritise asset-liability matching. As such they are willing to accept lower internal rates of return (IRRs). Investment firms and higher risk funds typically seek higher IRRs, have shorter time horizons or look for opportunities with growth or other upside characteristics or opportunities. 

As of the end of 2023, financial investors have amassed a record level of capital to be deployed (also referred to as “dry powder”). Infrastructure funds have played a role in driving this growth. Global dry powder levels reached a record NZ$6.4 trillion at the end of 2023, with approximately NZ$730 billion allocated to the infrastructure asset class. New Zealand is seen as an attractive location for infrastructure investment due to its low geopolitical risk and favourable investment and political environment. This capital is expected to drive deal volumes in New Zealand. However, while New Zealand offers opportunities, its market and scale are relatively small on a global level, which may not appeal to all funds.

In 2024, we anticipate that the key trends of decarbonisation and digitalisation will continue to drive both corporate and private infrastructure activity. With forecast economic headwinds and high interest rates we also expect corporate portfolio optimisation to continue. For example, companies and investors are looking for opportunities to separate out infrastructure assets from portfolios. 

We also expect to see a significant increase in public sector-driven infrastructure M&A. This is an area that has experienced relatively low activity in recent years. The push for public sector activity is driven by rising local government rates and the need to address balance sheet pressures. Additionally, there is an expected shift for the Government to explore more opportunities for utilising or accessing private finance for infrastructure projects. In the local government space we have already seen a number of asset reviews announced, including a potential sell-down of a 34% stake in Wellington Airport by Wellington City Council and the potential sale of some of the 54% stake in the Port of Tauranga by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. 

This expectation of increased activity in New Zealand is generating interest from global and local investors. Those who can access strong local sector knowledge or position their infrastructure companies/developers with the right investors should be able to create and realise value through M&A activity.


By Simon Healy, Partner, PwC New Zealand

How PwC can help

PwC New Zealand’s Corporate Finance and M&A team is the largest in New Zealand, with a proven track record across a diverse range of sectors. With a nationwide presence led by 11 partners, 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 in New Zealand for the amount of M&A deals by Thomson Reuters (now Refinitiv) for the last 18 years.

Related content

Contact us

Rod Harris

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 22 657 6699


Gareth Galloway

Deals Leader, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 983 519


Regan Hoult

Partner, Corporate Finance Leader, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 243 2378


Richard Longman

Wellington Managing Partner, Wellington, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 777 780


Wayne Munn

Partner, Canterbury, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 918 289


Craig Armitage

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

+64 21 616 232


Chris Croft

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 894 670


Simon Healy

Partner, Deals - Corporate Finance & Infrastructure, Wellington, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 242 6075


Nick McVerry

Partner, Waikato, PwC New Zealand

+64 27 496 8631


Swathi Parikh

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 20 439 9990


Follow us