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Irish mergers and acquisitions soar to €20bn in the first half of 2021

The level of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in Ireland skyrocketed in the first half of this year, with nearly € 20 billion spent on more than 100 transactions.

The numbers represent a 33% increase over the same period in 2020 and most half-years since 2006.

The William Fry Mergers & Acquisitions Review recorded nine transactions valued at over 500 million euros and six with a price of over 1 billion euros. The largest was the takeover of Ulster Bank Ireland’s commercial lending business by AIB from Royal Bank of Scotland for € 4.1 billion.

The report also scored well for medium-sized companies between 5 and 250 million euros. The largest medium-sized business deal of the year was the acquisition of the Cork-based medical technology provider Healthcare 21 by the Swedish medical technology company Addlife for 240 million euros.

“Irish M&A deals hit a new record high in the first six months of 2021 and continue to build on the momentum seen in the last quarter of 2020,” said Stephen Keogh, Head of Corporate and M&A.

“International buyers – both corporate and private equity – were an important driver of this activity, with the value of the mergers and acquisitions carried out by foreign bidders totaling 15 billion euros, almost twice as much as in all of 2020.”

US-based private equity firms continued to dominate the Irish market. The largest was the takeover offer by the US buyout company Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for UDG Healthcare for 3.4 billion euros. On the second and third largest deals – Advent and Eurazeo of the 1.8 billion

By sector, technology, media and telecommunications continued to generate the most transactions in the first half of 2021, accounting for 27% of total M&A volume, followed by financial services, consumer goods and renewable energy.

Mr. Keogh said international private equity funds with access to unprecedented amounts of capital will continue to search for attractive acquisition targets and the stage is set for an outstanding year for Irish deals.

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