M&A activity up 27 per cent to €96bn in record breaking year as A&L Goodbody tops adviser and value rankings

M&A activity up 27 per cent to €96bn in record breaking year as A&L Goodbody tops adviser and value rankings

M&A activity in Ireland rose by 27 per cent in 2021, making it a record-breaking year, the latest Experian report on dealmaking activity shows.

In total, there were 628 transactions announced in 2021 – up on the 495 deals recorded during 2020. Market sentiment is positive, funding is readily available, competition for high-quality assets is fierce and cross border deal making rose to unprecedented levels, with surging M&A activity across a wide range of sectors pushing the annual total above 600 for the first time on Experian record.

In a busy year for Ireland’s professional firms, A&L Goodbody took the top spot in the legal volume table, working on a total of 88 deals in 2021.

Flynn O’Driscoll and Arthur Cox were also very active in the market, taking a role on 75 and 58 qualifying transactions, respectively, to make up the top three.

A&L Goodbody also topped the legal value table, having worked on each of Ireland’s top three deals of the year by transaction value, with a recorded value of €58.5 billion. KPMG was Ireland’s leading financial adviser by volume, with 29 deals in 2021, while Goldman Sachs headed up the value table with €44.5bn worth of transactions.

The total value of Irish M&A hit €96bn, up from just €31bn in 2020, as many of the country’s corporates pushed ahead with high level strategic M&A and consolidation plans that may have been put on hold the previous year.

Deals stemming from private equity investment accounted for 22 per cent of all Irish deals last year – there were 136 PEbacked deals in total, up by around 12 per cent on 2020’s figures. As we might expect, most of these deals targeted companies in the technology sector, although there was also consistent investment into manufacturing and professional services businesses throughout the year.

State-backed seed capital investor Enterprise Ireland was the most active investor, completing 20 transactions in 2021. Elsewhere, the number of deals recorded as having been funded by new debt, in full or in part, doubled year on year; Allied Irish Bank and US investment banks Citigroup and JP Morgan were among the leading providers of acquisition finance.

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