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M&A Review – Outlook

Irish M&A activity has been relatively muted in the first half of the year in line with the global M&A market.

While Ireland’s economy continues to outperform international peers, the international pressures to which all economies are currently subject – elevated inflation fears, rising interest rates and the threat of recession – are unlikely to lift in the very short term. Nor does the geopolitical backdrop provide much solace given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as tensions between China and western governments. On this basis, while we expect to see reasonably healthy levels of Irish M&A activity, the prospect of a significant uplift in the second half of the year looks limited.

In addition to economic factors, Irish M&A also faces some regulatory changes in line with global trends. The forthcoming Screening of Third Country Transactions Act, when brought into force, will require buyers of Irish businesses to assess carefully the likely impact on deal timing, conditionality and overall implementation certainty.

The new EU Foreign Subsidies Regulations will also have a impact on some very large transactions. This is in addition to an increasingly interventionist approach being taken by mergers control regulators at home and abroad.

This is not to suggest that dealmaking will slow to a halt. There is ongoing interest in Irish businesses across a range of sectors – TMT, healthcare, business services and energy are notable examples. And as always, a tougher economic environment will create plenty of opportunities for M&A activity – for example, we expect to see more deals in the consumer and leisure sectors. PE investors, as well as corporates, continue to seek out opportunities in Ireland.

To conclude, we expect reasonably healthy levels of Irish M&A activity in the second half of 2023, but no imminent return to the bumper volumes witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the Covid era

Click the image below for the full M&A Half Year Review 2023.