Inbound M&A dominates European markets as domestic activity stalls

US largest acquirer of European targets: deals between European countries down 51% in one year.

Deals in which Non-European vendors are buying European targets have reached a total value of $73.4 billion so far in 2015, according to the latest Thomson Reuters Deals Insight.

Inbound deals since 1 January account for 59% of total M&A activity ($123.7 billion). More than one-third (38%) of those deals originated in the US – meaning the value of inbound activity from the country has more than doubled to $27.9 billion. More than half of the inbound deals involve a UK target.

In contrast domestic deals, involving European vendors and targets, have fallen to a 21-year low so far in 2015. Deals within Europe have a cumulative value of $19.1 billion in 2015 – down 59% on the same period in 2014. France (US$5.2b), the UK (US$3.8b) and Germany (US$3.0b) have the strongest domestic markets.

The two highest-value deals announced this year involve UK target companies. Hutchison Wampoa’s acquisition of O2 tops the list with a value of $15.4 billion.

Despite the value of this deal, figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) earlier this month revealed that UK M&A activity in 2014 dropped to its lowest level since records began 28 years ago.

The total number of UK companies acquired by other British firms dropped from 238 in 2013 to 173 in 2014. The number of inbound deals with UK targets also dropped from 141 to 98 across the same period.

A spokesmen for the ONS said that “uncertainties about the outcome of the Scottish Referendum, held in September 2014, and the impending general election in May 2015” may have been to blame.

Further reading on M&A: Top 15 M&A deals of 2014 announced

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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