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August 8, 2022
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EY analysis: M&A activity remains resilient in 2022, but further shocks could derail the outlook

  • Global mergers & acquisitions (M&A) down by 27% compared to SPAC-induced H1 2021, but up 35% compared to average of previous cycle (2015-19)
  • Shift to M&A “friend-shoring” sees increase in deals among friendly countries
  • Technology sector dominates with nearly a third of total activity
  • The M&A activity in Romania increased by 25% compared to H1 2021

Despite major geopolitical and financial headwinds, global M&A activity in H1 2022 has been resilient, according to analysis of M&A data by EY. With 2,274 deals of a total value of US$2.02t, M&A in H1 2022 may have seen a drop compared to this time last year (down 27% by value and 18% by volume), but activity is up compared to the average of the last M&A cycle (up 35% and 13% respectively).

According to analysis by EY, the nature of cross-border deals is changing to reflect geopolitical tensions on the world stage. While cross-border transactions levels in H1 have decreased (24% in 2022 vs an average of 30% over 2015-19), the share of cross-border deals among closely affiliated countries has increased (51% in 2022 compared to an average of 42% over 2015-19). The analysis finds that investment from China into the US has fallen from US$27b at the highpoint in H1 2016 to US$1.9b, while North American investment into Europe have increased from US$60b to US$149b over the same period.

 

India and the Technology sector reign supreme

 

Following the US (US$900b) and China (US$175b), which traditionally top the table of most active M&A markets, India has had an extremely active start to the year with the combined value of its outbound, inbound and domestic deals jumping to US$128b and increase of 215% compared to the average of the last deal cycle (2015-19). According to EY analysis, as well as a burst of domestic M&A (US$107b vs. an average of US$21.5b over 2015-19), H1 2022 also saw an increase of Indian-owned companies buying foreign-owned assets (US$6.2b vs. US$2.3b over the average of the last deal cycle (2015-19).

Looking at sector performance, once again Technology drove global M&A in H1 2022. While the US$627b of M&A activity was down 20% from the record 2021 levels (US$789b), it still accounted for nearly a third (31%) of global M&A activity. Deals focused on technology targets are now at double the level of the previous cycle (up 95% against the 2015-19 average of US$322b). Conversely, the EY analysis finds that the Life Sciences sector continues to underperform, despite the recent health crisis. The sector has recorded US$111b in deals so far in 2022 (down 58% year-on-year and 48% versus the 2015-19 average). The Consumer sector that has traditionally been an active M&A market has also seen a 27% decline in activity compared to H1 2021, down to US$91b.

 

Private capital set to drive activity, but beware of further shocks

 

Despite the widespread uncertainty, a fragile global economy and increased regulatory intervention, M&A is continuing apace, with a particularly strong flow of private capital driving activity. Even though capital market conditions have tightened sharply through the first half of 2022, private equity (PE) firms still have large amounts of cash that will need to be deployed in the latter half of the year.

 

H1 2022 M&A in Romania

 

The Romanian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market recorded 109[1] transactions in the first half of 2022, a 25% increase compared with H1 2021. Despite the higher volume of deal making, the estimated value of local M&A activity was lower on a year-on-year basis, at USD 2.5bn[2] vs USD 4.2bn in H1 2021 due to a 51% decline in the value of disclosed transactions.

The acquisition of automaker Ford Romania by Ford Otosan Netherlands for USD 785m was the largest transaction during the period, followed by the acquisition of a Romanian NPL portfolio by APS Holdings Corporation from Bank of Cyprus for USD 158m, the acquisition of wind farm Beta Wind by Energias de Portugal, through its subsidiary EDP Renovaveis for USD 136m and the acquisition of EXPO Business Park by S IMMO for USD 108m.

Strategic investors continue to be the dominant players in Romania’s M&A market, accounting for 89% of transactions. Domestic transactions registered a 45% advance in H1 2022 when compared to the same period, counting 55 transactions, while foreign players increased their activity by only 9% on the Romanian market (49 transactions) when compared to the same period. In terms of origins, the most active investors were the United States (5 deals), followed by the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and the UK (4 deals each).

The most active sectors by inbound deal volume remain technology (15 deals) and real estate (12 deals), followed by diversified industrial products (6 deals), healthcare (5 deals) and telecommunications, media & entertainment, and power & utilities (4 deals each).

While excluded from our market value calculation[3] we also note four other transactions in H1 2022. In March, MBC Group, the United Arab Emirates based media company acquired 30% of Antenna Group SA, the Greece based television broadcasting and production firm, including its Romanian operations. In the same month, Econergy International Limited acquired Two photovoltaic projects in Romania and USA from PNE AG. Both transactions are for an undisclosed consideration. In April, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Affidea B.V., including its Romanian operations, for USD 1.1bn, while in May, Medicover AB agreed to acquire Laurus Medical in Romania and Allenort Kliniki Terapii in Poland for a total amount of USD 15m.

 

[1] EY’s M&A database for Romania excludes transactions with stakes acquired of less than 15%.

 

[2] Includes an estimate of the value of transactions where no data was formerly disclosed by the parties or is not available in third party databases and/or reported by media sources.

 

[3] Multi-country transactions which include companies or operations in Romania are included in the number of transactions but excluded from the value of M&A where the allocation of transaction value is not available.

 

Photo: www.pixabay.com

 

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