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How Resilient is the Private Equity Market?

Globally, Q1 2020 saw private equity have a robust start to the year. According to data from Mergermarket’s Global and Regional M&A Report 1Q20, global buyout activity remained at the same value as Q1 2019. This was reflected in Europe, with the continent having a strong start to the year due to ‘high profile defensive consolidation and continued private equity investment’, which equated to a 30.2% increase in deal value over Q1 2019.

Of course, this was before the pandemic, with a fall in activity in March and with the primary market for leverage loans shut down, the private equity market is unlikely to reach the levels of the start of the year in the months to come.

But how resilient is the private equity market anticipated to be?

If we look back to the recession of 2008, it does not paint a promising picture, as trust was completely lost in private equity firms. In 2007, buyouts represented 27% of overall M&A value in the US and Europe, which then dropped to 14% in 2009, due to lack of trust. Similarly, in 2019, over 25% of global deals involved a private equity firm, which does no bode well for buyouts in 2021. However, the current crisis is very different in nature to 2008 and buyout activity should remain resilient due to the record amounts of dry powder financial institutions have at their disposal.

European private equity demonstrates this with private equity activity as late as mid-March, with KKR announcing a 5bn USD takeover of recycling firm Viridor.

Interested in private equity investment?

During the current crisis, exits may be muted – but that does not mean they will grind to a complete stop. For opportunistic buyers, there may still be targets in the coming months, particularly those in sectors immune to the current crisis, such as technology, business services and software. Companies thriving in the crisis – such as those in hygiene, home fitness, and home entertainment should also see a continued interest.

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Mid-Year Irish M&A Review 2019

The first half of 2019 has been strong for the Irish M&A market, according to William Fry’s Mid-Year M&A Review for 2019 in association with Mergermarket. While overall deal volume has dropped, value is up, while private equity and overseas investments have also been significant.

Findings in the report include:

 

Private equity is a major contributor to Irish M&A – Private equity deal value totalled €1.8bn in the first six months of 2019, a 74% increase from H1 2018, with private equity firms accounting for three quarters of overall deal value in H1 2019. Deal volume has also risen from 19 deals to 21 deals.

Likely contributors to this activity include the fact that Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU once the UK leaves, an attractive prospect for North American companies looking to acquire in the EU. Mature private equity firms are also interested in Irish companies, buoyed by Ireland’s steady GDP growth, as this presents Irish companies as attractive deal targets. As well, with the $1.8tn of dry powder that private equity firms have access to, they are now looking to younger markets like Ireland to deploy this capital.

Interested in private equity investment?

To add to this, the Irish government is making moves to support private equity investment in the country, approving the drafting of the Investment Limited Partnership Bill that aims to make the jurisdiction more attractive to fund managers.

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M&A Trends in the Technology Sector – Why has it Reached New Highs?

A newly released report from Mergermarket concerning M&A trends in the first half of 2019 has shown that M&A in the technology sector has reached new highs. So far, 1,307 deals have been recorded in the technology sector this year, equating to 15.9% of deal activity by volume in 1H 2019, its highest half-yearly share on Mergermarket record.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

In fact, in recent years tech M&A has reached record levels but what are the reasons for the industry’s popularity?

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Q1 2019 – Global Private Equity Deal Values Rise

Private equity has remained robust in the first quarter of 2019, with deal values in the first three months of 2019 showing a quarter-on-quarter rise of 3.6% to US $202.2bn.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

On the flip side, buyout activity did drop marginally; however, take-private transactions conducted by private equity firms reached their highest Q1 value since 2013 – this was driven by the top two buyouts of the year so far – both made by US-based Hellman and Friedman. The private equity firm bought US software developer Ultimate Software Group for US $11.8bn (the fifth largest private equity buyout in the TMT sector on Mergermarket record), as well as making an offer of US $6.4bn for German real estate and automotive digital marketplace, Scout 24.

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Benchmark International’s Nick Hulme Named as One of the UK’s Most Active Financial Advisers

The latest league table for H1 2018 by Mergermarket, part of Acuris, has named Benchmark International’s Nick Hulme as one of the top financial advisers in the UK, placing joint third and advising on six deals.

The review looked at the most prolific advisers in the UK by the number of deals conducted over USD 5m, with Benchmark International placing above firms such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

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