This shift may reflect the lower cost and risk associated with joint ventures, as well as the increasing popularity of collaboration to deal with the challenges of international expansion, said the report.
Of the 1,124 respondents only 20 per cent said they had completed a transaction last year. The decline in M&A was most pronounced in emerging economies in Asia and Eastern Europe. Cultural differences, unexpected costs and delivering deal value were the three most common concerns of CEOs in considering M&A.
The research also indicated that CEO confidence was at its lowest level since 2003, when the Global CEO Surveys began. Worldwide, just 21 per cent of CEOs said they were very confident of revenue growth in the next 12 months, down from 50 per cent in last year’s survey.
CEOs worldwide were also gloomier about longer term growth as well, predicting a slow recovery. Only 34 per cent said they were very confident of growth over the next three years, down from 42 per cent last year, when CEOs were just beginning to recognise the full impact of the credit crisis on the global economy. Illustrating the changing mood, CEOs confidence worsened over the course of the surveying as negative economic news unfolded.
“The speed and intensity of the recession has rocked the psyches of CEOs and created a global crisis of confidence,” said PwCs’ Global CEO Samuel A DiPiazza, Jr.
“CEOs are most concerned about the immediate survival of their companies. Even in once rapidly emerging economies, companies are now coping with issues like unavailable credit, sluggish capital markets, and collapsing demand.”