Irish M&A deals face lowest first quarter since 2009

12 Apr 2023

Image: © Antonioguillem/

The Refinitiv report claims Irish M&As fell by 87pc at the start of 2023 compared to last year.

The value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with any Irish involvement has plummeted this quarter despite a high volume of deals, according to market data provider Refinitiv.

A new Refinitiv report claims M&As with any Irish involvement reached $1.5bn during the first quarter of 2023, which is an 87pc decline compared to the start of 2022 and the lowest first quarter since 2009.

There were 115 deals recorded, marking the third-highest first quarter of all time according to Refinitiv. Ian McFarlane, Ireland country manager at London Stock Exchange Group, said average transaction values have “declined significantly”.

“Global M&A dealmaking continues to remain subdued due to recent recurrent interest rate hikes amid record inflation and economic uncertainty and will likely continue that way for the majority of 2023,” McFarlane said.

“Ireland should hopefully outperform other countries and regions given its strong economic outlook and continued foreign direct investment.”

Deals that involved an Irish target totalled $579.1m for the first quarter of this year, down 80pc from 2022 levels and a 12-year low. Inbound deals involving a non-Irish acquiror declined by 80pc to $568.4m, while domestic deals declined 89pc to $10.7m.

In deals involving an Irish target, the energy and power sector took the highest share, representing more than half of these deals at $322m. Real estate was second at $114m while healthcare deals made up $62m.

The largest deal took place in January, when Kerry Group agreed to sell its sweet ingredients portfolio to Advent International’s IRCA for $536.7m.

The results are a stark contrast to previous reports, which suggested Irish M&A activity was strong in recent years.

In February, a report on the Irish market by William Fry suggested a positive outlook for this year, due to a relatively strong result in 2022.

William Fry Ireland’s head of corporate, Stephen Keogh, remarked that Ireland appeared to be weathering economic headwinds “more comfortably than many other countries and the economy continues to outperform”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic