NEW YORK, March 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly two-thirds of investor relations officers surveyed by the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and Gladstone Place Partners expect to engage in modest M&A transactions this year, while only 18% of those surveyed expect transformative deals. Seventy-six officers responded to an online poll conducted by NIRI between Jan. 28 and Feb. 12, 2021.
The survey results, announced ahead of the annual Tulane Corporate Law Institute conference, showed that nearly 80% of respondents expect consolidation in their industry this year. These results reflect what appears to be pent-up demand for M&A transactions heading into 2021 after a slowdown in 2020, when the pandemic and other factors slowed M&A until the second half of the year. At the same time, IROs said that they expect that the transactions are likely to be "bolt-on" and other relatively lower-risk type transactions when compared with prior periods and cycles.
"Heading into our first virtual Tulane conference this year, we see from the survey and our own backlog that strategic transactions are picking up, and that lower-risk types of transactions and bolt-ons are on the rise," said Steve Lipin, CEO of Gladstone Place Partners. "2021 will be the year of bolt-ons and SPACs."
Other noteworthy result is that IROs were split on whether the new Biden administration would be tougher on antitrust enforcement, with approximately 51% expecting a more aggressive approach and roughly 44% expecting it to be neutral, while about 5% are expecting an easier regulatory regime.
On the threat of activist investors in their stock, IROs said that the biggest two risk factors for their companies were financial performance (30%) and capital allocation (30%).
When asked about which of the Environmental, Social or Governance components were the most important element for their companies, IROs said that Social topped the list this year at 33%, up from 9% in our January 2020 survey. This year, Governance closely followed Social at 32% (up from 30% in 2020), and Environmental dropped by 2% this year to 22%. This shift clearly reflects not only the focus in 2020 on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice, but on the health and welfare of employees and frontline workers impacted by the pandemic.
While the "S" in ESG has gained importance, as has the discussion around boardroom diversity, 68% of IROs said that shareholders have not pressured their companies to increase diversity. Still, IROs said their companies do plan to disclose more information on board composition by gender (53%) and race (47%) in 2021. Moreover, 29% of IROs expect to see more disclosure around company-wide compensation by gender, and 24% on company-wide compensation by race.
About the Survey
Gladstone Place Partners and the National Investor Relations Institute conducted a survey of NIRI's member investor relations officers. The email survey ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 12, 2021 and was completed by 76 IROs, who were invited to share their outlook for the year ahead on ESG, M&A, DE&I and more.
About Gladstone Place Partners
Gladstone Place Partners is a strategic and financial communications firm serving clients in the U.S. and across the globe. Its communications advisory work focuses on a range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, crisis situations, corporate reputation and strategic positioning issues, IPOs and spinoffs, global trade and supply chain matters, cybersecurity, shareholder activism, and corporate governance communications. Gladstone Place Partners is an entrepreneurial firm with global capabilities and mindset, with headquarters in New York and an office in San Francisco. For more information, visit gladstoneplace.com.
Patricia Figueroa/Kiki O'Keeffe
SOURCE Gladstone Place Partners