Sector Watch - M&A Review 2022

Published date08 March 2023
Subject MatterCorporate/Commercial Law, M&A/Private Equity
Law FirmWilliam Fry
AuthorBrian Butterwick

Ireland's appeal as a place to do business has, in recent years, both attracted multinational groups expanding their operations and supported the growth of domestic companies in a wide range of sectors. This diverse mix of businesses has resulted in dealmaking across a range of industries, with 2022 being no exception.

The financial services sector featured prominently in 2022's deals, accounting for more than half of Irish M&A by value. And, while the Sumitomo–Goshawk deal was an important element of that story, there were plenty of other significant transactions. Indeed, the sector accounted for four of the 15 largest deals in Ireland in 2022.

Some of that activity reflects ongoing restructuring – Allied Irish Bank's purchase of Ulster Bank's tracker mortgage business is a good example, with AIB Group also selling its non-performing loan division to a PE-led consortium. Other transactions were more geared towards strategic growth. In the insurance sector, for example, several players continue to pursue buy-and-build strategies in the brokerage market; last year saw PE-backed group AssuredPartners acquire Gallivan Murphy in the latest such deal.

Meanwhile, the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector continued to be an important focus for M&A, accounting for 22% of all deals by volume in Ireland during 2022. Indeed, Ireland's status as a leading centre for European TMT continues to strengthen. Now the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world, eight of the top-ten global IT companies have a significant presence in Ireland.3 A tech-literate workforce and an attractive tax environment provide competitive advantage. Partners Group's acquisition of Version 1, a provider of digital and cloud transformation services to public and private sector customers, is a good example of how companies that have grown in Ireland's thriving tech sector are now having a global impact.

Fintech was a particularly high-performing TMT sub-sector and saw JP Morgan acquire Global Shares, a fintech company providing cloud- based share plan management software in a €665m deal.

Looking ahead, the challenges facing some tech companies in the wake of interest rate increases and the pull-back...

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