Headline tech and healthcare M&A figures might be obscuring a subtle shift in the composition of deals as the first half of the year recedes. Dealmakers’ focus on the pandemic-proof sectors is giving way to wider interest across sectors, PwC private equity lead Manoj Mahenthiran tells Mergers & Acquisitions. “Deal activity is incredibly robust; nothing seems to have abated,” he says. “We are starting to see more diversification in the sectors driving growth.”

Private equity firms are now seeking deals even in sectors whose normalized earnings were obscured by the fog of the pandemic. “Now we’re starting to see laggard sectors like consumer and retail getting some levels of investment,” Mahenthiran tells us. “There are a lot more food deals. I think it’s becoming more broad based at a high level.”

That interest comes as consumer sector conglomerates are increasingly open to disposals.  Three quarters of sector executives at the top 20 consumer companies surveyed by global strategy and management consulting firm Kearney said that they could carry out a major divestiture. The rationale? Strategic restructuring to strengthen balance sheets and enable growth. 

M&A activity remains robust despite a resurgence in Covid case volume, Mahenthiran says. Market leaders like fintech and healthcare are buoyed, if anything, by investor fears about a return to remote work and pandemic-level illness.

“Maybe some of the consumer deals, retail deals will slowdown,” he adds, when asked if other sectors are likely to remain resilient. “Because if you’re investing in a restaurant chain, you are going to get affected. Those investments might have to rethink. But retail, grocery, specialty food, delivery businesses, will continue to grow.”

The broader based M&A market rallies on.