Mergers and acquisitions fall by nearly half in first half of the year

There was a significant decline in Irish-related merger, acquisition and equity investment activity during the first half of this year, with transactions nearly halving on the same period last year, new data shows.

The figures — from global information services giant, Experian — show 90 transactions involving Irish firms were completed between the beginning of January and the end of June; a year- on-year volume drop of just under 45%. The first half of 2012 saw 163 transactions.

In value terms, €13.2bn worth of transactions marked a 39.2% year-on- year drop.

However, the first half of 2013 was still up on the second half of 2012, value- wise, with only €5.7bn worth of deals announced in the latter period.

There were just 12 so-called ‘large’ transactions (typically, those valued at over €120m) completed in the first half of this year; down by nearly 30% on the 17 last year.

Generic pharmaceutical company, Actavis’s $8.5bn takeover of the Dublin-incorporated Warner Chilcott was the largest single deal.

Sixteen mid-market deals (those valued at between €12m and €120m) were carried out, against 27 for the corresponding period last year and values declined by over 32% year-on-year to a combined €635m.

Small deals — or those with a value of under €12m — amounted to 14, 50% less than a year earlier; with combined values of nearly 60% less, at €55m.

According to the Experian data, Ireland accounted for around 2% of all European merger and acquisition & deals in the first half of the year, and 5.7% of their value. These figures compare to 3% and 6.8%, respectively, for the period last year.

Most of the Irish activity so far this year has been fuelled by the pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors and Experian anticipates those will keep driving activity.

“The strong activity in Ireland’s buoyant telecoms and pharmaceuticals sectors... looks set to continue as we move into the second half of the year,” said Wendy Driver, Experian UK & Ireland’s business development manager.

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