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Irish M&A Review 2023

Against a global backdrop of negative economic and political news, Ireland’s mergers and acquisitions market in 2023 proved itself to be resilient.

The number of deals, at 334, was up 10% from 2022, comparing very favourably to the performance of the wider European (down 11.4%) and global markets (down 15.8%) for the year. On the other hand, the aggregate value of Irish M&A deals reached just €11.8bn, down 20% compared to 2022. It should be noted, however, that dealmaking in Ireland remains very healthy by historical (pre-Covid) standards.

Ireland’s economy continues to be one of the best performing in Europe: the International Monetary Fund forecasts GDP growth of 1.5% and 2.7% in 2023 and 2024. That remains well ahead of most of our neighbours, even if growth is now slowing from the 12% average observed during 2021 and 2022.

Nevertheless, a large proportion of Irish M&A activity is driven by nonIrish acquirors whose appetite to do deals was somewhat diminished in 2023 by factors such as rising interest rates, high inflation and political instability. Not surprisingly, transactions continue to be largely concentrated in the mid-market, with 86% of deals where value was disclosed being priced between €5m and €250m.

Indeed, just five deals worth more than €500m were announced in 2023. That included the largest deal of all: the €3.3bn acquisition of Pembroke Group by Aircraft Leasing (AviLease), reflecting ongoing consolidation in the aviation-leasing sector.

Click the image below to download William Fry’s M&A review for 2023.