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2017 Corporate divestment strategy survey

Global themes and challenges in divestment activity

Our 2017 global divestment survey examines the themes and challenges influencing global divestment activity. Learn more about how global organizations assess their performance in divestments and key emerging issues in divestment strategy.

Themes and challenges influencing global divestment activity

The survey responses provide valuable insights into what our clients and experts consider the key emerging issues in divestment strategy.

Key findings

  • Divestment deal activity remains robust despite uncertain market conditions. However, the difficulty level of achieving successful divestments is increasing. Fifty-four percent of respondents expect that divestments will be more difficult to deliver in the next 12 months due to external market changes.
  • One third of respondent’s recent divestments have failed. The top three reasons for this include being unable to get acceptable value, unacceptable deal terms, and a change in the external market.
  • Most divestments are driven by portfolio optimization strategies as companies attempt to refocus on a core of businesses and competencies. Fifty-three percent of respondents strategically evaluate individual businesses only when there are performance or strategic issues. Given the uncertain market conditions, is this the right approach?
  • Increasing numbers of respondents are turning to technology to support their divestment process. Fifty percent had a need for more in-depth and raw data sources to support their buy-side due diligence.  
  • The buyer universe is changing. The survey shows that companies are more likely to market divestments to corporate buyers than to private equity and more likely to market to domestic buyers than to cross-border buyers—yet private equity and cross-border buyers are more likely to complete the deal.

Key issues influencing divestment activity

To do list:

us-tick-icon-white.jpg (27×27) Firms should regularly review their portfolios using a strategic, structured approach to help derive from value from divestment.
us-tick-icon-white.jpg (27×27) Perform an in-depth, pre-divestment readiness assessment supported by data analytics to identify a transaction’s key areas of complexity, interdependency, and preparedness, as well as where value can be delivered versus time/cost benefit.
us-tick-icon-white.jpg (27×27) Set firm timelines on whether and when to sign and conclude. If deals drift, there’s a risk that less-favorable terms may be on offer from a seller’s perspective. However, this might not necessarily be the case from a buyer’s perspective.   
us-tick-icon-white.jpg (27×27) Consider the advantages of sales to private equity (PE) and cross border buyers. Look at PE firms if sale objectives include a high price, deal speed, and certainty to close.

"Divestments are now recognized as a core part of an organization's priorities, yet the complexities of how to identify and execute these successfully is changing rapidly. Sophisticated businesses are adapting their strategies to ensure they capture maximum value from these activities."

– Iain Macmillan, Global leader, Mergers & Acquisitions

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