Findings from the Mergermarket’s EMEA Deal Drivers report reveal that, for the first two quarters of the year, 2,307 deals worth €269 billion (£210 billion) were recorded in the area.
The figure represents an 18 per cent dip in volume activity and a 10 per cent decline in total value over the same period in 2011.
On a country-specific basis, the Germanic countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland accounted for 28.4 per cent of deal values, while the UK and Ireland made up 25.7 per cent.
In terms of deal volume, the UK & Ireland (24.1 per cent) outperformed the Germanic countries (17.7 per cent), while the Nordic nations (13.6 per cent) and France (11.3 per cent) follow after.
Of the M&A activity recorded, the proportion of private equity contributions fell by 27 per cent in volume and 7 per cent in value to 441 deals worth €37.7 billion.
Elizabeth Castro, editor with The Mergermarket Group’s research and publications division, comments, ‘Non-core asset disposals have been an important driver of M&A in 2012, particularly in the financial service sector.
‘This type of activity should continue though the remainder of the year, as will strategic M&A deals that offer access to emerging markets.’
Castro believes that Western European buyers know that growth prospects at home will be limited for the foreseeable future, meaning that this will be offset by pursuing deals in ‘faster-growing’ Central and Eastern European and Asia-Pacific countries.
Mergermarket’s findings show that the consumer sector was productive in the first two quarters of the year, with large deals including the €2.7 billion sale of CVC Capital portfolio company StarBev LP to the Molson Coors Brewing Company boosting figures.
However, the energy, mining and utilities sector continues to dominate M&A value with a share of 32.1 per cent, followed by financial services (11.9 per cent) and industrials and chemicals (11.6 per cent).