300 Irish M&A deals done in 2022

Total value of M&A activity in 2022 came to €14.8bn, with 86% of deals worth between €5m and €250m.

A total of 300 qualifying deals were recorded within the Irish M&A Market in 2022, a drop of 2% since 2021 which was considered an outlier year.

According to new data from William Fry, the total deal value came to €14.8bn, which is 38% lower from the figure recorded in 2021 but excludes the US$28bn offer by Amgen for Horizon Therapeutics, announced in December.

“The question is whether that slowdown continues or even accelerates in 2023 – the current global economic picture suggests that a cautious approach would be wise”

A total of 300 transactions represented a 2% decrease from 2021 levels, a remarkable achievement considering 2021 saw the most deals on record.

The financial services sector featured prominently in deals across 2022, accounting for 51% of Irish M&A by value.

Ireland’s tech sector continued to be an important focus for M&A with technology, media and telecoms (TMT) accounting for 22% of all deals by volume during 2022.

Weathering the storm

Set against pre-pandemic levels of activity, 2022 private equity (PE) activity was strong with a total of 62 transactions.

“Ireland is not immune to the headwinds buffeting the global economy. Rising interest rates, persistently high inflation, slower growth in Western markets, war in Ukraine and global supply chain disruption all present significant challenges,” said Stephen Keogh, head of Corporate and M&A at William Fry.

“Ireland appears, however, to be weathering the storm more comfortably than many other countries and the economy continues to outperform. While the bumper M&A year of 2021 was always going to be difficult to match, the data for 2022 is strong despite something of a slowdown in the second half of the year.”

The financial services sector accounted for more than half of Irish M&A by value. The sector accounted for four of the 15 largest deals in Ireland in 2022. In terms of deal volume, the technology, media, and telecoms (TMT) sector was the dominant sector within the market.

With significant transactions such as Partners Group’s acquisition of Version 1 and JP Morgan’s acquisition of Global Shares, the TMT sector accounted for 22% of all M&A deals by volume in Ireland during 2022. The real estate and infrastructure sector saw an uptick in activity from investors, accounting for 15% of Irish M&A by deal value last year, up from just 2% in 2021.

Another sector worth singling out was pharmaceuticals, medical and biotechnology, which accounted for 12% of deals by volume in 2022, with the year ending on the “mega-deal” announcement of Amgen’s recommended takeover of Horizon Therapeutics plc for US$28bn.

Overseas acquirers conducted 216 inbound transactions in the country in 2022, one more than in 2021, but the total deal value for inbound transactions fell by almost a third to €12.5bn. All but three of the 20 largest deals of the year were inbound cross-border transactions.

Looking to 2023, Keogh concluded: Keogh concluded: “Irish M&A has proven itself to be extremely resilient over the past few years, seen through the impressive levels of deal activity throughout the global pandemic. The remarkably strong market for dealmaking witnessed in 2021 continued during the first and second quarters of 2022, before easing in the second half.

“The question is whether that slowdown continues or even accelerates in 2023 – the current global economic picture suggests that a cautious approach would be wise. Nevertheless, there are reasons to be positive about the outlook for M&A activity in Ireland with many advisers reporting strong pipelines of work.”