Firms cash in as offshore M&A balloons by 63 per cent in 2014

While the M&A market has generally been on the up, it’s clear that one group has been given a major boost by the recent activity: offshore firms.

According to data compiled by Appleby, deal value for offshore M&A ballooned by 63 per cent last year – from $170bn in 2013 up to $277bn. That means that aggregate deal value was higher than the decade’s previous record back in the market’s heyday of 2007.

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The boost came thanks to a raft of meaty transactions, which brought average deal value in 2014 up to $103m. That’s the highest level for a decade, pipping the existing record of $100m recorded back in 2007 to the post.

The year saw 49 transactions worth more than $1bn – also a record for the last decade.

Among those was Aviva’s proposed acquisition of Friends Life for $8.2bn, which is sanctioned by way of a Guernsey court sanctioned scheme of arrangement. While Allen & Overy and Linklaters took lead roles on the bumper deal, Carey Olsen and Ogier also won instructions to advise on offshore aspects.

It’s almost enough to put a spring in your step. Although Appleby chair Frances Woo warns that it’s probably best to take caution, stressing that global markets are capable of “seriously unsettling dealmakers at short notice”.

Still, what a promising start to 2015.

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