PwC India announced that the number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals recorded a 10% dip, amounting to 793 deals during 2023. However, the plunge in the overall disclosed deal value for M&A was more pronounced, experiencing a 38% decline throughout the year, as revealed in the PwC report titled 'Deals at a Glance'.

Private Equity (PE) investments mirrored this trend, plummeting by 36% from the figures of 2022, amounting to $36 billion.

Despite this downturn, the average investment size per deal saw an upswing, reaching $46 million from the previous year's $42 million, indicating a potential shift towards larger investment opportunities. Early-stage investments took a hit, decreasing by 53% compared to 2022; however, combined with growth-stage investments, they still constituted a substantial 73% of total fundings in 2023. On the flip side, buyouts demonstrated resilience, experiencing only a modest 5% decline compared to the previous year.

This nuanced scenario implies a diverse investment landscape where investors exhibit interest in varied strategies and larger-scale ventures, even amidst an overall reduction in PE investments, according to the report.

Dinesh Arora, Partner & Leader Deals at PwC India said, “In 2023, India resiliently navigated global headwinds, solidifying its appeal to international investors. The economic fundamentals stay strong reflecting investor enthusiasm for the country's expanding economic opportunities and this optimism is also echoed in PwC's latest CEO Survey. Despite a restrained deal-making environment throughout the year, the deal activity stabilised towards the last quarter leading us to anticipate an upswing in 2024.”

PwC's analysis for the calendar year 2023 identified the retail and consumer sector as the most active, closely followed by technology for the second consecutive year. Professional services and fintech sectors displayed heightened activity in terms of volume, while financial services, renewable power, and healthcare dominated in terms of deal value.

The top 10 deals of 2023, encompassing joint venture (JV) buyouts, strategic investments, PE buyouts, and stock mergers, collectively contributed to 21% of the total deal value. While PE deals dominated in volume, strategic deals took precedence in the top deals, featuring domestic deals and group-level consolidations as significant themes, according to the report.

In December 2023, PwC's report titled 'India Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023' stated India has the potential to lead in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) technology into business, provided the industry adopts an effective upskilling approach. In this survey, 51% of Indian participants express the belief that with organisational support in upskilling opportunities, artificial intelligence (AI) will enhance their workplace productivity. In contrast, only 31% of respondents globally share a similar perspective.

Anumeha Singh, partner, PwC India said, “Amidst the rising uncertainty and seismic impact of AI, the workforce is demanding more from their employers on all counts. The workforce is not settling with a competitive compensation only - which continues to be a hygiene - but also a deeper job satisfaction, and faster growth opportunities to fulfil their aspirations.”

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