Tech bankers: Business is back

Contact: Brenon Daly

Every year, we survey our investment banking contacts to get a sense of what they anticipate for both their business and the overall technology M&A market in the coming year. The results this year seem to fully indicate that the recession that flattened business – and entire institutions – in 2009 will give way to a busier and more vibrant dealmaking market in 2010. Bankers projected that activity will pick up across virtually every part of the business, including the IPOs and private equity buyouts that had all but disappeared this year.

Altogether, the results show a stunning turnaround from our previous survey. (See our report on last year’s survey.) Of course, 2008’s survey went out when the Nasdaq was trading around 1,550 amid the historic upheaval and blood-letting on Wall Street caused by the credit crisis. As devastating as the crisis seemed at the time, it has actually turned out to be a boon for most. More than half of the bankers responded that those unprecedented changes actually boosted their firm’s opportunities – and they expect to be hiring to handle the additional work they see coming in 2010.

The main reason why the banks see the need to hire is that business has recovered dramatically. When we asked bankers to gauge their current pipeline compared to where it was at this time last year, the recovery was striking. Two-thirds said the dollar value of mandates on the deals they are currently working on is higher than it was in late 2008. In the 2008 survey, half of the bankers said their pipeline was drier. Look for our full report on the survey in tonight’s 451 Group MIS sendout.

Change in number of formal tech mandates

Pipeline volume 2006 2007 2008 2009
Increase 84% 70% 39% 67%
Increase 25% or more 58% 31% 9% 39%
Decrease 4% 13% 34% 19%

Source: Annual 451 Tech Banking Outlook Survey