M&A activity sees uptick following 65 per cent drop in first half of 2017

Irish M&A activity plummeted in the first half of the year, dropping 65 per cent, according to new figures form Thomson Reuters commissioned by the Irish Independent.

The collapse followed the introduction of new rules in the US which stop big companies from moving their tax base to Ireland by buying up smaller competitors, a practice knows as “tax inversion”.

Mark Ward, head of mergers and acquisitions at A&L Goodbody (pictured), said activity had returned to that of recent years following the slowdown.

A&L Goodbody has been involved in 11 deals this year, making it the busiest adviser in the Irish market.

“January was quiet, you had Brexit to the east and Donald Trump to the west and there’s no doubt it had an impact, but that waiting period is well over now,” he said.

He added that following clear waves of activity after the financial collapse – property loan sales, corporate restructurings and corporate inversions, things are now more mixed.

“I couldn’t say we are in any particular phase now, there is a mix of activity and it adds up to a healthy whole on the volume side,” he said.

He listed a variety of private equity supported takeovers, including Carlyle Cardinal Ireland’s €50m acquisition of a majority stake in Sam McCauley Chemists as well as interest in Irish fintech.