Investing in CEE: Inbound M&A report 2021/2022

23 February 2022

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Mergermarket and Mazars are pleased to present Investing in CEE: Inbound M&A report 2021/2022. This report offers an overview of investor activity into the CEE region in 2021, looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities for the coming months.
Deal volume and value both increased in 2021. The number of M&A deals in the CEE region rose to 889 in 2021, up 32% on the previous year. Total deal value was also higher, with transactions totalling €67.5bn. This represents an increase of 41% compared with 2020 and it is the highest total transaction value since 2016.
Key highlights include:
  • International buyers continue to target CEE. Inbound investment accounted for 62% of the aggregate value of transactions carried out in the CEE region (including Russia) in 2021, up from 56% in 2020, confirming the attractiveness and relative stability of the market.
  • Private equity (PE) buyouts on the rise. Fuelled by record reserves of dry powder in both domestic and international markets, the overall deal value for PE buyouts leapt 63% to reach a total of €10.4bn – the highest level on record since 2015. Volume also rose sharply, up 46% with 130 deals in 2021 versus 70 in the previous year.
  • Same countries to the fore. The top four countries in terms of M&A deal volume in 2021 were Poland (with a total of 192 deals), Russia (146), Austria (119) and the Czech Republic (86). Turning to total deal value, Russia came in first with disclosed transactions totalling €20.4bn, up 15% versus 2020. Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic took second, third and fourth places respectively.
  • Tech the star performer. Tech stands out as the CEE region’s biggest inbound deal generator in 2021. Performance was spectacular, with value nearly quadrupling year-on-year to €10.1bn and volume jumping up by 86%. Activity has been driven up by the accelerating digitalisation trend, as well as the growth in demand for IT nearshoring as a result of the Covid pandemic.