Friday 23 March 2018

Goodbody is top player in M&A market

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Law firm A&L Goodbody dominates the Irish market for lucrative mergers and acquisitions (M&A) work, according to new research for the Irish Independent.

Davy is the busiest Irish brokerage house when it comes to the work, but played second fiddle to Morgan Stanley last year, thanks to the global bank's role on cross-border deals involving Irish clients.

Native firms still dominate the M&A scene when it comes to legal advice, according to research by Thomson Reuters.

The 27 deals A&L Goodbody worked on is well ahead of closest Irish rivals William Fry and McCann Fitzgerald. Linklaters is the only international firm to elbow into a top five slot.

On the financial front, Morgan Stanley tops the table, down to its role on cross-border deals, including the takeover of Eircom by lenders including Blackstone through an examinership.

Takeover activity last year included two rare Japan-Ireland deals.

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank bought IFSC-based RBS Aviation Capital in one of the biggest deals of the year.

Less high-profile was the Ireland-based Consumer Equity Investments (CEI) Ltd acquisition of Akindo Sushiro, a chain of Japanese sushi bars, for an estimated €870m.


CEI is owned by global private equity investor Permira and the Irish directors of the company are mainly linked to Northern Trust, a financial services provider.

Morgan Stanley was among the advisers on the deal.

Traditional Irish companies buying abroad was the biggest driver of activity last year, according to NCB Corporate Finance.

The stockbrokers publish their M&A research, the M&A Tracker Survey, today.

Ardagh Group's acquisition of US-based Anchor Glass Container Corporation for €720m, Petroceltic's acquisition of Melrose Resources in the UK, and cider-maker C&C's acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider for €235m in the US all fit the cross-border trend.

"Irish corporates acquiring businesses abroad has been a recurring trend for a number of years now as these larger corporates have retained the ability to fund acquisitions," explained NCB's Jonathan Simmons.

Such deals accounted for almost half of all deals in 2012, according to Mr Simmons.

Irish Independent

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