State of the Market: Corporate M&A

In this comprehensive interview with Matthew Court, USA Research Manager at Chambers and Partners, Frank Aquila, senior M&A partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, shares deep insights into the US M&A landscape, his remarkable career journey, and how changing trends are shaping the future of M&A.

Published on 16 February 2024
Frank Aquila, Sullivan & Cromwell, Chambers Expert Focus contributor
Frank Aquila
Ranked in Corporate/M&A (International & Cross-Border) in Chambers Global
View profile

Aquila, who came from a non-traditional background for a Sullivan & Cromwell attorney, has spent over 40 years at the firm, engaging in a variety of leadership roles and becoming a pivotal figure in corporate M&A. His work has significantly influenced sectors such as banking, consumer products, healthcare, and more, with a particular emphasis on cross-border transactions. Clients include Diageo, Amgen and InBev.

Despite his initial plans to use his position at Sullivan & Cromwell as a stepping stone, his passion for the work and the opportunities to engage deeply in M&A transactions kept him at Sullivan and Cromwell. His early exposure to boardroom discussions and strategic decision-making processes has significantly shaped his approach to the work.

“I was probably not destined to go to a firm like Sullivan & Cromwell.”

Throughout the interview, Aquila highlights the evolution of the M&A market, noting a shift towards more strategic, internal teams within companies focusing on acquisitions and greater board involvement in the decision-making process. He also discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the M&A sector in 2023, including financing difficulties due to rising interest rates and regulatory pushback, while emphasising the adaptability and resilience of the market.

Looking ahead to 2024, Aquila expresses optimism about the prospects for M&A activity, pointing out the necessity for industry consolidation and the need for companies to become more global and technologically advanced. He predicts that the drive towards efficiency, revenue growth, and technological investment will spur further M&A activity, benefiting larger companies capable of spreading costs across a broader product range and leading smaller entities to consider mergers or acquisitions as a strategic move to enhance their competitive edge.

“I think we'll see a pick-up in cross-border work in a number of sectors.”

The interview provides a rich analysis of the global M&A landscape, drawing on Aquila’s extensive experience a leading deal maker to offer valuable insights. His perspective not only illuminates the complexities and dynamics of mergers and acquisitions but also highlights the strategic considerations critical for companies navigating this ever-evolving space.

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell, Chambers Expert Focus contributor
59 ranked lawyers and 62 ranked departments
Learn more about this firm’s ranking in Chambers Global
View firm profile

Chambers In Focus Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and never miss out on thought leadership content from legal experts and the key stories driving the legal profession forward.
Sign up here