Dealmakers Hit the Gym, Expecting Busy 2024

As dealmakers and activists made their way back to the offices this week with 2024 resolutions packed in their new Tumi bags, many have a spring in their step due to expectations of a pick-up in activity. The renewed biotech deal fever that has broken out ahead of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco next week presages good tidings for 2024. 

Jeffrey Goldfarb’s year-end piece in Reuters Breakingviews gave us all cheer over the holidays, noting that mergers as a percentage of total market caps are at an all-time low and cash levels on the balance sheets of the S&P 500 – excluding those in finance, utilities, property and transportation – were some $1.8 trillion, plenty with which to do deals. Promises the headline writers at Reuters, “Backlogged M&A pipeline will burst in 2024.”

Frank Aquila of Sullivan & Cromwell added on Bloomberg Surveillance (Dec. 21) that he expects corporates to go back into the M&A market across the board – not just geographically, but also in different sectors such as media, energy and natural resources.

Headwinds of the past two years may be turning into tailwinds, as the S&P 500 dances around new highs and 10-year Treasury yields tumble a full 100 basis points, giving boards and management teams courage, confidence and cheaper financing. 

Christmas came early and often for health-care dealmakers via a flurry of biotech deals from Astra Zeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb and others as big pharma restocks. Bristol Myers inked a deal for Karuna Therapeutics for $14 billion, and a couple of days later reloaded with the purchase of RayzeBio for $4.1 billion, while AstraZeneca scooped up Gracell Biotechnologies for up to $1.2 billion.

Bridging finance and food & wine (our favorite type of segue), despite rising equity prices, the prices of high-end wine and Champagne dropped last year. Wine-Searcher chimed in with, “Fine Wine Withers on the Vine,” noting that fine wine is often touted as an investment but “the market is not looking as healthy as it was.” Always fun to track the Liv-ex Fine Wine index for you wine (and index) geeks.

Have a great weekend and see you in SF, 

GPP Team 


Reuters Breakingviews: Backlogged M&A Pipeline Will Burst in 2024

Jeffrey Goldfarb examines the potential resurgence of M&A activity in 2024. Factors like improved CEO confidence, easier access to capital, and a recovery in public stock valuations, alongside lessons from successful deals like Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, are helping to rejuvenate the market. Read More

Bloomberg Surveillance: Aquila: Companies to Go Back Into Market

Frank Aquila, Partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s M&A and Corporate Governance practice, joins Bloomberg Surveillance to give his insight into the deal market and what gives him optimism for 2024. Watch Here

Wine-Searcher: Fine Wine Withers on the Vine

James Lawrence discusses the downturn in fine wine sales and the emerging preference for more affordable alternatives, reflecting economic pressures and evolving consumer tastes in the wine industry. Read More


Reuters: Disney Wins Activists' Backing in Boardroom Fight with Peltz

Svea Herbst-Bayliss reports that the Walt Disney Company has gained support from activist hedge funds ValueAct Capital and Blackwells Capital against a board challenge by Trian Fund Management. Read More

The Deal: Activist Investing Today Podcast: Akin's Rappaport, Koenig Talk 13D, Delaware

Akin partners Doug Rappaport and Jason Koenig discuss new 13D disclosure rules, strategic board subcommittee charters, the future of single-issue director contests and red flags in board tenure. Listen Here


The Wall Street Journal: CEO Council: CEO Outlook for 2024

Data from 120 CEOs at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit reveal that 40% of surveyed CEOs are optimistic about the economy in 2024, with interest rate policy driving that bullishness. Read More

Goldman Sachs Briefings: A Special Year-End Quiz on the Global Economy

Goldman Sachs shares its end-of-year quiz with 10 questions, ranging from the world of finance and the global economy, all drawn from Goldman Sachs Research. Quiz Here

DealBook: What Could Go Right (and Wrong) in the Markets Next Year

Reporter Bernhard Warner writes that the “magnificent seven”-powered growth of the S&P 500 and strength Bitcoin in 2023, despite economic concerns, presents a cautiously optimistic outlook for 2024. Read More


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Memo: Thoughts for Boards: Key Issues in Corporate Governance for 2024

Wachtell discuss the heightened responsibilities and challenges for corporate boards in 2024, focusing on navigating complexities in cybersecurity, AI, and energy transition, and stress the importance of effective board-management collaboration. Read More

Sidley Perspectives: On M&A and Corporate Governance

In December’s issue of Sidley Perspective, partner Beth Berg and special counsel Claire Holland provide action items for U.S. public companies in 2024, focusing on compliance with new SEC rules, adapting to changes in corporate governance, and preparing for evolving challenges in areas like cybersecurity, climate disclosure, and artificial intelligence. Read More


Goldman Sachs: 2024 M&A Outlook: From Stability to Strength

Stephan Feldgoise, Co-Head of Global M&A, forecasts for a more stable M&A landscape in 2024, highlighting trends such as the resurgence of large-scale deals and shifts in sector focus and buyer profiles, despite challenges faced in 2023. Read More


Fried Frank: New Merger Guidelines Reflect Continued Desire for Aggressive Antitrust Enforcement

Corporate law firm Fried Frank shares an update on the FTC and DOJ’s new merger guidelines, indicating a move towards more stringent antitrust enforcement with a focus on market concentration, serial acquisitions, and entrenchment. Read More


We did take advantage of the holidays to take our (adult) kids and friends out for some great meals. 

One we loved  was at Ma-dé, a new restaurant opened by Cedrich Vongerichten and his wife Ochi Latjuba Vongerichten. Right next to their fun spot Wayan on Spring Street in Soho, the food is French-infused with flavors of Indonesia, where Ochi is from. Our meal was heavy on fresh seafood and vegetables (raw fluke and scallops were amazing, as was the butterfish). It’s fun, cool, “downtown” for us older folks, and a good vibe. Great cocktail list and nice wine list — we went with a Loire Sauvignon Blanc.

Another spot we loved over the past two weeks was Chambers (on Chambers Street, no less) which is one of the best wine restaurants in the City, with a great menu and a mind-blowing wine list overseen by acclaimed somm Pascaline Lepeltier.

Noma, Shmoma, we went to the new Ilis, a new Nordic-themed restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The owner and chef helped start Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant that launched the new Nordic movement and was perennially ranked the number one restaurant in the world. Here below is the antelope tartar in a dumpling, which you dip in a sauce from the heart of said antelope. Maybe TMI? 


Movie review: Roger Ebert: Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros

Last year GPP had the pleasure of dining at Troigros, a restaurant in France that has held three Michelin stars through three generations of one family. The 93-year-old master documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest work looks at the three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Bois sans Feuilles in France; the movie is being called “one of the great films about food and cooking.” Read More

Financial Times: Investors Lose Taste for Top Burgundies and Vintage Champagne Higher Interest Rates and Weak Demand from China Damp ‘Frothy’ Market

Laurence Fletcher reports that the market for top-end Burgundies, vintage Champagnes and other fine wines took a hit in 2023 in part due to higher interest rates and a slowdown in the Chinese economy. Read More

Wine-Searcher: Preview the Most Expensive Wine in the World

Now in theaters, The Most Expensive Wine in the World is a documentary on how a former engineering student began making wine in an unsung corner of Bordeaux and ended up producing a wine with the highest release price in history. Read More


  • BlackRock’s longtime Comms Chief Jim Badenhausen is retiring, to be replaced by Carlyle’s Leigh Farris, the company announced. Read More

  • Natasha Khan has joined the Wall Street Journal’s corporate news bureau in New York covering the consumer sector. Read More

  • Sarah McLean, a leader of Shearman & Sterling's U.S. energy industry group, is leaving the firm to join Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner in Willkie's private equity practice. Read More

  • Diane Bartz, one of the deans of the media covering U.S. antitrust as well as corporate regulation and legislation, has left her role at Reuters. Read More
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