Ireland M&A Review HY 2020

05 August 2020

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Mergermarket and William Fry are pleased to present the Ireland M&A ReviewThis report provides a comprehensive overview of developments in Irish M&A during H1 2020 and offers insight into likely trends in the coming months as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cast uncertainty for the global M&A market entering H2.

Key findings include:

  • In the face of widespread uncertainty, the Irish economy and dealmaking activity in the country have suffered a blow. Across H1 2020, deal volume and value both fell substantially with just 65 deals worth €2bn recorded, down by 29% and 26% respectively. Though it is noteworthy that this was to be expected in light of the Covid-19 crisis and these figures represent a far less steep decline than in many other countries. Global M&A deal value, for instance, fell by as much as 53% over the same period while volume dropped by 49%.
  • Ireland’s mid-market continues to dominate, as TMT claimed the lion’s share of deals in the first half of the year. Once again, the mid-market (€5m-€250m) was the most active segment in Ireland’s M&A landscape, representing 89% of deals with disclosed deal value in H1 2020. However, in contrast to previous years, there were no deals recorded worth €500m with the largest deal, the sale of Dublin semiconductor innovator Decawave to US-based Qorvo, reaching €363m. This deal helped solidify TMT’s position as the largest sector by both value and volume, representing a strong endorsement of Ireland’s high-tech sector. TMT accounted for 54% of total value across H1, and 34% of value, performing well in the face of the pandemic.
  • Deal activity is expected to rebound in the second half of the year. While the Irish M&A market’s reliance on international investment means that Ireland may be especially vulnerable to any future coronavirus outbreaks, its track record for dealing with, and containing the crisis should allow for investor’s minds to be put somewhat at ease. Even so, 2020 is still likely to represent one of the lowest watermarks in M&A since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, as it will take some time for dealmaking to return to pre-pandemic levels.