A&L Goodbody tops deals table for Northern Ireland M&A activity

A&L Goodbody tops deals table for Northern Ireland M&A activity

Alastair Keith

A&L Goodbody (ALG) has been ranked as Northern Ireland’s top legal adviser by both value and volume of total M&A deals in 2021 so far.

According to the latest report from global information services company Experian, ALG’s Belfast office acted on 46 deals worth over £1.1 billion in the first three quarters of the year.

Alastair Keith, head of corporate at ALG in Belfast, said: “We are delighted to be named once again by Experian as the leading legal advisor by both value and volume of deals transacted.

“2021 has been an exceptionally busy year for transactions. The quality and significance of the deals we have delivered is testament to the expertise and commercial focus of our industry-leading team of corporate lawyers, supported by our wider team of over 120 people in our Belfast office.”

Mr Keith said deal activity “has been largely sector agnostic”, but said the firm had “been struck by a number of trends”.

He said: “In terms of value, there have been several transactions in 2021 with a disclosed value exceeding £50m. This includes the £775m sale of Euroauctions to Ritchie Bros, the £87m sale of Merchant Square and the investment into Learning Pool by Marlin Equity Partners. Another significant local transaction was the sale of Balcas by SHV Energy. We were delighted to have a lead advisory role on each of these.

“There has also been a notable increase in mid-market transactions in the jurisdiction – such as the acquisition of the North West Independent Clinic by Kingsbridge Healthcare Group and the acquisition of the Slieve Donard Hotel by US buyer AJ Capital Partners.

“Outside the jurisdiction, Northern Irish companies have been making strategic acquisitions. Examples include the Mzuri Group, which made a number of acquisitions globally, and Haldane Fisher who just recently acquired English company, Prowood.

“Encouragingly, we have seen continued provision of significant growth capital into the market, having advised Datactics, Cumulus NeuroScience (formerly Brainwavebank) and Loyalbe on their respective investments. We also advised Selazar on its £20m investment, thought to be the biggest outside investment into a Northern Ireland start-up.”

Mr Keith added: “Looking to 2022, we are seeing a strong pipeline of local and international deal activity and are cautiously optimistic about the M&A landscape for Northern Ireland over the next 12 months.

“We look forward to ALG advising on many more local and international transactions in the year ahead.”

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