Report: Irish M&A hits 5-year high, despite Brexit and global woes
With the doubts surrounding Brexit and its effect on neighboring Ireland, tariffs worries and other geopolitical problems, you might expect weakness in the Irish M&A market. And you’d be wrong. The Irish law firm William Fry has just released its Annual M&A Review, and the biggest takeaway is a stunner: Irish M&A activity reached a 5-year high.
Some specifics: Deal volume rose to 162 deals in 2018, up from 151. Deal value, however, fell by 57 percent to €7 billion, or about $8 billion. Nine of the 10 top 10 deals last year had overseas buyers, which 102 outbound deals from Irish companies were worth more than €6 billion, or $6.8 billion. Private equity involvement remains strong, with 34 announced deals. And the top deal sectors were business services (19 percent); technology, media and telecom (16 percent); pharma, medical and biotech (15 percent); and financial services (12 percent).
William Fry partner and head of corporate and M&A Shane O’Donnell, said: “Activity was strongest in the first three quarters of the year, with both the value and volume of M&A deals falling as 2018 drew to a close. This is consistent with global M&A patterns and reflects growing unease due to political and economic uncertainty.”
Looking ahead, O’Donnell says that continuing political pressures may dampen the deals market, though continuing predicted strength in the mid-market and financial services may ease some of the pain. And the continued exodus of some businesses from London due to Brexit may help, too. “The rise of large financial services transactions over the last two years are in part a reflection of Ireland’s strength in the aircraft leasing subsector,” he said. “But it also demonstrates the attractiveness of Dublin as a base for businesses in the sector looking for alternatives to London.”