Ireland M&A Review FY 2020

22 February 2021

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Mergermarket and William Fry are pleased to present the Ireland M&A Review. This report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the Irish M&A market during 2020 and offers insight into likely trends in the coming months as economies worldwide continue to confront uncertainty brought about by COVID-19.
Key findings include:
  • Ireland’s M&A market posted impressive figures in spite of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Irish deal value rose by 14% year on year, while volume remained in line with 2019 figures, coming to a total of 169 transactions recorded worth €9.1bn in 2020. In contrast, the overall European deal market recorded a 17% decline by volume, and a relatively modest 3% increase by value.
  • Inbound activity continues to bolster the Irish M&A market. Total inbound volume reached a new record of 121 deals (worth €8.8bn) in 2020 – a rise of 6% by volume and 16% by value from the previous year. The top 20 deals of the year were all inbound cross-border transactions.
  • A number of key sectors saw strong performances in 2020. The TMT sector continued to dominate Irish M&A in 2020, both in terms of volume (25%) and value (22%). Business services also performed well, accounting for 21% of value and 17% of volume. In contrast, the government lockdown particularly impacted the leisure and tourism industries, as Ireland witnessed a sharp decline in consumer spending.
  • As vaccination programmes are gradually rolled out worldwide, a renewed boost to Irish M&A is expected in 2021. The Irish economy is already showing signs of a positive recovery after being hit hard by Covid-19 in the first half of the year. This activity is anticipated to continue, and Ireland is one of just two European economies expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of growth by the close of 2021.