From Verizon's (VZ - Get Report) planned purchase of Yahoo! (YHOO) , to Bayer's (BAYRY) addition of Monsanto (MON) , and Qualcomm's (QCOM - Get Report) acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI - Get Report) , 2016 brought about a slew of significant M&A activity.
So what can investors expect in 2017? Mergermarket America head research editor Elizabeth Lim discussed her expectations Wednesday morning on CNBC.
"According to our data, the stage is set for M&A to continue to be strong at least through the first quarter in 2017," Lim noted. She mentioned a low-interest rate environment, low inflation and a more robust economy as the driving forces behind her thesis.
"We will probably see a continuation of consolidation in energy that is still benefiting from a low oil price environment. We will also probably see more media mergers, and see if AT&T (T - Get Report) and Time Warner (TWX) ultimately closes," she said.
The AT&T and Time Warner deal has been criticized by President-elect Trump, who has stated his intentions to fight that deal because it symbolizes "too much concentration of power."
"There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Trump's imminent presidency and what kind of relationship he will have with Congress," Lim stated. However, she is uncertain if preventing M&A deals will be a "top priority" of Trump's administration.
That uncertainty, combined with several questions concerning Trump policies, will evoke a "wait and see" mentality from companies seeking deals.
"Companies may wait and see in order to see if tax cuts happen, in which repatriation of cash is likely," Lim explained. "They may also want to see if there will be a tax holiday, causing them to want to repatriate cash. "
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