Ireland M&A 2022: Tech and pharma perform well in deals by volume

27 Feb 2023

Image: © Johnstocker/

A report on M&A activity in the Irish market by William Fry found that there are reasons to be positive about the outlook for 2023.

Ireland’s technology, media and telecoms sector accounted for 22pc of all M&A deals by volume during 2022. Pharma accounted for 12pc of all deals by volume for the year.

That’s according to William Fry’s M&A Review 2022 which looked at activity relating to mergers and acquisitions in the Irish market over the past year.

The report also made some predictions for 2023 based on the 2022 outlook. Overall, 2022 was a relatively strong year for Irish M&A activity, according to Stephen Keogh, head of corporate at William Fry Ireland. This was especially true considering the global challenges affecting the market, such as the war in Ukraine and inflation.

“Ireland is not immune to the headwinds buffeting the global economy. Rising interest rates, persistently high inflation, slower growth in Western markets, war in Ukraine and global supply chain disruption all present significant challenges,” said Keogh.

He remarked that Ireland appears to be weathering these storms “more comfortably than many other countries and the economy continues to outperform”.

The total value of M&A activity in Ireland in 2022 came to €14.8bn. The majority of deals (86pc) were worth between €5m and €250m

A total of 300 transactions represented a 2pc decrease from 2021 levels. This was remarkable considering 2021 saw the most deals on record.

“While the bumper M&A year of 2021 was always going to be difficult to match, the data for 2022 is strong despite something of a slowdown in the second half of the year,” said Keogh.

The financial services sector accounted for more than half (51pc) of Irish M&A by value. The sector accounted for four of the 15 largest deals in Ireland in 2022.

However, in terms of deal volume, the technology, media, and telecoms sector was the dominant sector within the market, accounting for more than one fifth of all M&A deals by volume.

Significant transactions in 2022 in tech included Partners Group’s acquisition of Version 1 and JP Morgan’s acquisition of Global Shares. The pharmaceuticals, medical and biotechnology sector also performed well in 2022, with the year ending on the announcement of Amgen’s recommended takeover of Horizon Therapeutics for $28bn.

“Irish M&A has proven itself to be extremely resilient over the past few years, seen through the impressive levels of deal activity throughout the global pandemic. The remarkably strong market for deal making witnessed in 2021 continued during the first and second quarters of 2022, before easing in the second half,” said Keogh.

Commenting on the outlook for 2023, Keogh said that “the current global economic picture suggests that a cautious approach would be wise”.

“Nevertheless, there are reasons to be positive about the outlook for M&A activity in Ireland with many advisers reporting strong pipelines of work,” he concluded.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.