The current year as opened with record-setting confidence in the global M&A landscape, with North American, Chinese ad European advisors expecting deal activity globally to increase (82 percent, 74 percent, and 88 percent, respectively) over 2012. Almost all (97 percent) of North American advisors see activity within North America increasing in 2013, according to the new Brunswick Group M&A Survey.

North American and European advisors see this uptick being driven by strong CEO and board confidence (64 percent and 72 percent, respectively, see this as the key driver), while 69 percent of Greater China-based advisors see growing appetite among Chinese State Owned Enterprises for outward expansion as the top factor.

North America-based advisors see M&A activity as more likely among domestic players (71 percent) than inbound (18 percent) or outbound (3 percent) pursuits; Greater China-based advisors see M&A activity being driven by Chinese companies pursuing outbound deals (77 percent); and Europe-based advisors see foreign companies pursuing deals within Europe (59 percent) driving local M&A activity.

In North America, the ripest sectors seen for consolidation are consumer goods (31 percent) and technology and telecoms (22 percent), while manufacturing (20 percent), technology (20 percent) and consumer goods (16 percent) are expected to fuel activity in Greater China. In Europe, energy and financial services are expected to drive the uptick (24 percent see each as the most active sector).

In addition, 89 percent of North America-based advisors expect leveraged buyouts to make a major comeback in 2013.