The pace of big Chinese takeovers abroad is slowing as buyers contend with rules tightening the flow of money out of the country and increased government scrutiny at home and overseas.
Bankers say many of the record-breaking $225 billion in overseas acquisitions Chinese companies announced last year are stalled by financial or regulatory hurdles—including the country’s biggest-ever deal, China National Chemical Corp.’s $43 billion bid for Syngenta AG, a Swiss seed and pesticide maker. European regulators this month extended the deadline for their review of ChemChina’s bid a second time, to April.
More Chinese acquirers are backing out of deals. While Chinese firms announced more than double the amount of overseas acquisitions last year versus the previous, the value of deals withdrawn in 2016 was up around sevenfold, to $38.39 billion, according to Dealogic. The average number of days it took a Chinese buyer to complete an overseas deal in 2016 edged upward throughout the year, with November and December notching the highest levels, at above 140 days, according to Dealogic.