Figures hide renewed confidence in European M&A, says Eversheds

Robin Johnson, head of international mergers and acquisitions (M&A) at Eversheds, has commented following news that M&A in Europe reached a 10-year low in 2013, saying that the ‘historic figures’ don’t reflect the major increase in deal activity since the summer.

Johnson said: ‘There is renewed confidence even in the eurozone, which has been slower to react than London. Therefore, M&A activity as a way to grow down established lines and access new markets is back on the agenda for strategics.’

Other contributing factors, he said, were financial sponsors being willing to invest at higher multiples, resulting in sellers who have held off selling revisiting the market, and that the IPO market is also currently open.

Johnson added: ‘Having said that, sellers need to recognise that, in addition to traditional buyside possibilities of UK private equity and domestic and US strategics, there are new investors and buyers in the marketplace. In particular Korean, Japanese, Indian and, to a degree, Chinese strategics are looking actively in Europe, so sellers should cast their net widely to get the best deal.’