Global M&A spend recovered in 2014, rising one-third year-on-year to US$171 billion. Deal count breached 500 for only the second time. But as oil prices collapsed through Q4, so too did M&A activity. Forced asset sales will increase through 2015, creating a buyers’ market. Circumstances are ripe for both defensive and aggressive consolidation. But a sustained recovery in M&A will require an end to the slump in prices, in order that buyers and sellers can recalibrate expectations.