Tuesday 16 January 2018

M&A activity value surges to hit €100bn

'Many of the deals in the last year involve healthcare and pharmaceutical companies'
'Many of the deals in the last year involve healthcare and pharmaceutical companies'
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The value of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity with Irish involvement so far this year has surged to almost €100bn - nearly twice the figure at the same time last year.

And Irish law firms Arthur Cox and A&L Goodbody continue to rank among the top firms advising on the transactions, according to the data compiled for the Irish Independent by Thomson Reuters.

The number of deals either completed or in train so far this year totals 266 - up 24 on the same period in 2014.

Interestingly, over the last 12 months, the value of Irish-US M&A deals hit €83.14bn - up 75pc on the previous 12 months.

And yet, in September 2014, the US Government announced new rules to clamp down on so-called corporate inversion deals.

In an inversion, a US corporation avoids US taxes by buying or setting up a foreign company in a country and then moving its tax domicile to that country.

Therefore, it would have been reasonable to expect that the global M&A pipeline might have been dented in the aftermath.

So far this year, the value of M&A activity overall with Irish involvement has hit €99.62bn, up from €53.4bn in the same period last year.

And in the last 12 months, the value of activity has hit €114.97bn, up from €62.579bn over the previous year.

The biggest Irish-related deal, although still pending, involves Mylan's hostile bid for Dublin-based pharmaceutical company Perrigo, while one of the biggest completed deals was CRH's acquisition of the assets of Lafarge-Holcim. Many of the deals in the last year involve healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, as well as IAG's takeover of Aer Lingus, and Lone Star's purchase of Jurys Inns.

The need for regulatory approvals, legal due diligence and tax advice means big Irish law firms are continuing to ride the merger wave.

Arthur Cox, for example, has advised on 11 deals this year worth €40.83bn in total, ranking number two in the league table compiled by Thomson Reuters.

A&L Goodbody, ranked number four, has advised on 19 deals worth €35.71bn.

Ciaran Bolger, chairman of Arthur Cox's M&A practice, said they are seeing an uptick in activity levels.

"The activity levels have improved quite a bit from the previous year, that's the sense that we have," he said.

"This year's figures, however, may have been skewed a little bit by the size of the CRH deal."

Irish Independent

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