Ireland’s M&A deals reached record-breaking levels in 2021

12 Jan 2022

Image: © sodawhiskey/

Refinitiv said Ireland had a higher number of M&A deals in 2021 than any other year on record, with two ‘mega deals’ in aircraft leasing and healthcare.

There was a significant boost in mergers and acquisitions in Ireland in 2021 with a record-breaking number of deals taking place, according to market data provider Refinitiv.

Its 2021 report shows 690 M&A deals with Irish involvement were announced during the year, 58pc more than 2020 and the highest number in a single year since its records began in 1980.

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The total value of these deals was $104.6bn, six times greater than in 2020 and the second highest value out of all Refinitiv’s annual records to date.

Other records were broken in terms of Ireland’s outbound M&As, which reached $67.7bn in value from 230 deals announced in the year. Both of these figures are higher than any other year since Refinitiv’s records began.

The value of outbound M&As was boosted thanks to two “mega deals” announced in the first quarter of 2021, when Irish aircraft-leasing group AerCap agreed to buy GE Capital Aviation Services for $31.2bn and contract research organisation Icon bid $11.9bn for US-based PRA Health Sciences.

“This strong performance driven by aircraft leasing and healthcare shows that Ireland is very much open for business and overseas buyers will continue to be attracted to Ireland’s fast growing and business friendly economy,” London Stock Exchange Group’s Ireland country manager, Ian McFarlane, said.

Financial services accounted for the highest total value in deals, with a 46pc share, followed by healthcare at 20pc. A report last August from law firm William Fry said the technology, media and telecom sector accounted for the highest number of M&A deals in the first half of 2021.

Domestic deals reached an all-time high of $12.3bn, according to Refinitiv data, boosted by Permanent TSB’s offer to acquire assets from Ulster Bank in a deal worth $8.6bn. Inbound M&As involving an Irish target and a foreign buyer tripled in value compared to 2020, reaching $18.1bn.

Goldman Sachs was the top financial adviser for M&As with Irish involvement, being connected to 15 deals worth more than $60bn for the year, followed by Citi and Morgan Stanley.

An EY report last July found that Ireland was benefiting from a global surge in M&A activity, with more deals involving Irish targets in the first six months of 2021 than in the whole of 2020.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic