Ireland accounts for 5% of M&As

Ireland accounted for nearly 5% of all European-based merger and acquisition (M&A) activity last year, in value terms.

Deals in the pharmaceutical and financial services sectors boosted Irish-related M&A value last year, but activity — in volume terms — declined by just over 15% on 2012 levels.

New figures, published yesterday by global information services company, Experian showed that 254 deals, involving Irish companies, were completed last year — down by 15.1% on the 299 done in 2012.

However, the total worth of Irish-relevant transactions came to just under €38.6bn; more than 39% up on 2012’s total of just over €27.7bn.

The increase was driven by a marked rise in large deals — typically measured by transactions of over €120m in value; with six noted rather than three in 2012. The largest of these was US drug maker, Perrigo’s $8.6bn takeover of Irish biotechnology firm, Elan.

Mid-market activity — deals valued at between €12m and €120m — declined, however, with transaction volume down from 67 to 43 and value down from €2.8bn to €1.84bn.

Likewise, the number of small deals (those under €12m in value) fell by 11.1% to 48 transactions, with combined value falling by over 26% to €179m.

In terms of market share, Ireland represented around 2.4% of European deals, in volume terms last year. This was down from 2.9% in 2012. However, the percentage of European deals, in value, relating to Ireland jumped, on an annual basis, from 3.6% to 4.9%.

Experian Ireland managing director Fin O’Driscoll said the 2013 Irish M&A market presented a mixed picture, with overall activity remaining “somewhat suppressed”, but the country’s deal-makers likely to be encouraged by “brisk activity” in the pharmaceutical, biotech and financial services sectors, as well as by “consistently high levels of overseas investment”.

The overall M&A picture for Europe was one of moderate decline seen in deal volume, but a 4.1% rise in value terms to €786bn.

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