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The M&A market is looking strong for tax experts in 2014 and taxpayers are expecting to complete more divestitures.

Opportunities in emerging markets are also sparking multinationals' desire for acquisition, allowing them to expand their customer base and business lines.

Insurance sectors are seeing a growth in M&A activity but banking – aside from a few big-ticket deals, such as LBG and RBS branch divestments – has seen a slower growth rate over the past 12 months.

Regionally, the US is still the front-runner for M&A activity, but Europe and Asia, particularly China, are hot on its heels and Brazil is also seeing continued growth, supporting the trend for emerging markets.

The articles in this year's Mergers & Acquisitions supplement support the notion that favourable credit markets and a good lending environment will allow for higher leverage levels, and an increase in cross-border M&A activity.

Taxpayers from OC Oerlikon, a Swiss multi-industry conglomerate, give insight into how they think the OECD base erosion and profit shifting project will impact the M&A market, considering how tax planning in M&A transactions start long before the actual transaction appears on the horizon.

There is also a global look into using tax to enhance exit value on divestments, given that tax is often viewed as a barrier to exit, from the perspective of a divestment group.

Articles on China, Colombia and Mexico give an emerging market perspective and discuss why China is a favoured destination for cross-border M&A, the new tax regime for M&A in Colombia, and the relevance of social security due diligence in Mexico.

There is also an article focusing on the surge in cross-border M&A structuring into Hong Kong, analysing the jurisdiction's popularity as an investment destination and assessing the provisions taxpayers must be aware of when structuring cross-border transactions.

An article on Switzerland's post-acquisition measures to reorganise an acquired structure provides a case study on the acquisition of a Swiss company with subsequent cross-border emigration and the final article looks at M&A developments in the US.

Sophie Ashley

Managing editor

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