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M&A狂欢?特朗普税收政策将刺激科技公司并购

2017年4月底,美国经济部门发布了最新的税改框架。其中,公司税将大幅降低,合伙和责任有限公司将享受优惠税率(与风投相关),同时允许美国公司以低于35%现有税率的水平将海外利润转移回国内。

那么,为什么这个新政会引起科技企业及相关投资机构的关注呢?

因为一般来说,热衷收购的科技公司在海外都存有大量资金。所以,允许公司以优惠税率将海外利润移回国内可能将掀起新一轮科技公司并购(M&A)。

微软、Alphabet、Cisco和苹果等科技巨头都属于这一系列。此外,这些科技龙头企业的股票最近也纷创新高。而在美国,股票是可以用作并购货币的,因此未来科技公司并购前景一片大好。

但这些税收政策的改变只有得到议会通过后才会成为法律,而议会是否通过还是一个未知数。有人认为,民主党可能会支持移回海外利润这个部分,因为移回海外利润后公司资产负债表就会得到提升,这不仅将鼓励公司进行并购和回购股票,也会促使他们进行更多资本支出并参与投资基础设施。共民两党都希望在接下来的几年中基础设施投资会增加。

另一点值得注意的就是,移回的资金中只有一小部分会被用于并购。《金融时报》Robin Wigglesworth引用的一份调查数据显示,标普500公司的现金中只有10%会用于并购。

但无论如何,牵扯到的现金数额都是非常巨大的。《金融时报》2016年底援引的投行估测数据显示,美国公司现有海外资金规模大约在1万亿美元左右。

Given the most acquisitive tech companies have the largest overseas cash piles, the proposal to allow corporations to repatriate overseas profits at reduced rates could help fund new rounds of tech M&A.

This week, US economic officials launched the outline of a new tax reform, which among other things would slash the corporate tax rate, allow for partnerships and LLCs to be taxed at attractive rates (relevant to VCs), and allow US corporations to repatriate offshore profits at a rate lower than the current 35%.

That’s potentially a big deal since some of the companies with the largest overseas cash piles are the most acquisitive tech corporations, including Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco, and Apple (click here for our Google and Microsoft real-time M&A trackers). Add to this the fact that many of the largest tech corporations are seeing record share highs — stock can also be used as currency in M&A — and the picture could look pretty bright for tech M&A.

However Congress would have to pass the changes to the tax policy into law, and that’s very uncertain. There is some speculation that Democrats may get on board for the repatriation bit, since the boon to corporate balance sheets could encourage them to spend not only on M&A and share buybacks but also on capital expenditures and do their part for the infrastructure spending that many Democrats and Republicans would like to see in the next few years.

Another caveat is that only a small portion of repatriated cash would be used for M&A, a study cited by Robin Wigglesworth of the Financial Times put the proportion of S&P 500 cash used for M&A at only ~10%.

In any case, there’s a lot of cash at stake, investment bank estimates cited by the FT at year-end 2016 put the total of US corporate overseas cash at $1 trillion


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