By now, the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China are well known to business people. But Jim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist who gave them the nickname in a seminal 2001 report, later identified another group of lesser-known, fast-growing countries that he predicted would have a significant impact on the global economy. In 2005, he called them the Next 11, consisting of: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Phillippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. In 2011, Goldman Sachs followed up by launching the N-11 Equity Fund (GSYAX), which invests in 10 of the 11 countries. (Goldman does not invest in Iran, due to U.S. sanctions.) The fund has delivered a year-to-date return of about 5 percent as of May 31, and O'Neill recently retired as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
In this issue's cover story, we focus our M&A lens on the 10 emerging markets O'Neill identified. We examine the opportunities these developing nations offer U.S. dealmakers, such as inexpensive labor and a rising middle class, as well as the obstacles, such as political unrest and dangerous working conditions. Middle-market dealmakers are increasingly drawn to emerging markets as they look for new sources of deals.