Despite the political and economic uncertainties of 2012, the Romanian M&A market had a good year, according to Ernst & Young M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) Barometer – 2012 edition, a press release informs. During 2012, the Romanian M&A market experienced a slight decrease in terms of number of closed deals: from 120 deals in 2011 to 114 deals in 2012. However, the size of the market more than doubled in terms of value, with an estimated 106 pc increase based on disclosed deal values in the analyzed period (not including cross-border deals). The transaction value was disclosed only for 50 deals, resulting in a disclosure rate of 44 pc, similar with 2011. Total value of disclosed deals reached USD 788 M, with an average deal USD 16 M. This growth is largely explained by individual deals of significant value. As anticipated, the M&A activity decelerated in the second half of 2012, the number of deals decreasing by 30 pc. However, some significant deals were finalized during this period, mostly in the months of July and August 2012: the acquisition of eMag by Naspers, two real-estate deals (involving Liberty Center Mall and Tower Center International), the takeover of Astra Vagoane and the acquisition of a hypermarket from Pitesti by Auchan Romania. In 2012 E&Y analysts saw an increasing number of transactions involving strong targets – indicating a growing confidence of investors in the Romanian economy – but insolvent and distressed companies continued to be in the focus. Last year meant also the completion of the largest transaction of the last two years: the acquisition of chemical fertilizer producer Azomures by Ameropa Holding. If in 2011 the market was evenly shared between foreign and domestic investors, in 2012 foreign investors had 54 pc of the market – indicating that foreign investors keep an eye on the Romanian market in search for appealing targets. Origination of inbound investments included USA (8 deals), France (5 deals), Cyprus and UK (each with 4 deals), Germany and Canada (3 deals each). Germany, the traditional number one investor, was replaced by the USA. During 2012 no outbound deals were completed, showing that companies are more focused on strengthening their local businesses. In 2013 E&Y analysts anticipate an increase in the number of transactions in the financial sector, mostly involving portfolio of assets and small banks. “We expect a better 2013, based on the resumed push in privatizations and transactions in the renewable energy and the financial sector. We base this view also on the undertaken more positive attitude of the Romanian Government towards economy”, the press release notes.