In Europe, the M & A market remained buoyant throughout 2017. The CMS European M&A Study, which is published annually and is now in its tenth year, indicated that overall deal value climbed in Europe to USD 930bn, up 14% compared to 2016. Deal data so far this year suggest activity levels have continued where 2017 left off, indicating another productive M & A year in 2018.
As a global organisation with over 70 offices, we are very aware of the importance of maintaining high standards wherever we operate in order to support you, our clients, in your cross-jurisdictional business. We do this by constantly deepening and broadening our expertise as well as standardising processes and sharing knowledge across our firm.
A major focus for CMS over the last year has been the growing role of new technologies in the business environment. Our investment in artificial software such as Kira, for example, helps us with large-scale document review, ensuring both quality control and efficiency. We used Kira software when we recently advised HP Inc. on its acquisition of Samsung’s printer division (see page 10 for the story). Approximately 2,500 contracts were reviewed in 23 languages.
Due to the fast-changing and highly competitive environments in which you operate, you must anticipate change, innovate to gain business benefits and grow in order to retain market share. For this reason, you have high expectations of your business partners – in the quality of their work and in service delivery.
You can read more about the high quality advice we provide across the board in the stories throughout this Annual Review. For example, in one of last year’s most significant deals in the life sciences sector, we advised leading lab services provider SYNLAB on its acquisition of ALcontrol, a European provider of environmental testing services. We published the CMS Infrastructure Index, which ranks 40 jurisdictions in order of infrastructure investment attractiveness. In Chile, we advised on Enagás’s acquisition of Endesa’s stake in GNL Quintero, one of the biggest deals in the sector last year. A multijurisdictional CMS team advised Deutsche Bank and other creditors on the restructuring of the bank debt of DTEK.
In addition to technological and competitive pressures, compliance and ethical business conduct are a key focus. Fuelled by recent corporate scandals, businesses are now also paying closer attention to the ethical practices of their partners and supply chains.
The role of ethics in business was the main theme of our annual event hosted in Davos on the occasion of the World Economic Forum (see page 28 for the full story). Leading experts discussed the challenges of upholding ethical conduct in the business world and a company’s role in society, as well as the sources and spread of fake news and the important role of quality journalism.
As a business, it is not only important to us to be good at what we do but also to make a positive contribution to society. Around the world, we carry out pro bono work and support charities in the communities where we operate. For the second year running, CMS is also supporting the global charity Room to Read, which promotes literacy through programmes focused on education and gender equality.
Looking ahead, we remain committed to providing high quality advice and service across all our offices.
My colleagues in the CMS Leadership team and I are always happy to hear from you if you have any comments or questions.
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