Tech and life sciences M&A activity in Ireland remains resilient

10 Apr 2019

Dublin. Image: © Kim/

Forward-thinking industrial policy is paying off for Ireland.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the fields of technology, life sciences and financial services are bucking the trend amid a backdrop of slowing activity in Ireland.

“The general market in M&A has been sluggish in recent times but tech and life sciences M&As have been a beacon of resilience,” Maples Group corporate partner Colm Rafferty told a recent M&A event in Dublin organised by Maples Group in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank.

‘Relative to its population, there is no doubt that Ireland is punching far above its weight’

Future Human

Rafferty alluded to the growing trend of acqui-hiring by multinationals, hence the importance of having a vibrant and diverse start-up community across the country.

“We have a consistently growing tech sector here in Ireland, having both attracted large tech firms to locate in Ireland as well as having become a hub for homegrown indigenous tech firms and start-ups. Ireland’s position as a small open economy means that many Irish-founded tech and life science businesses are internationally focused from establishment, such as AMCS, to cite an example, who have executed a number of overseas acquisitions.”

Planning and preparation pay off

Rafferty said that this market activity comes on the back of forward-thinking, ambitious industrial policy. He said that together with Government support, this has created an ecosystem in which businesses can thrive.

“Relative to its population, there is no doubt that Ireland is punching far above its weight in terms of its ability to attract these organisations and to stimulate this level of expansionary market activity.

“In addition to this activity is the current trend for firms to look toward private equity to fuel their growth. Private equity is one solution for management teams who see more value in the opportunity of maintaining independence.

“The bonus for the wider Irish business ecosystem is that private equity tends to retain the target business’s Irish headquarters, or at least ensures that they are operationally maintained in Ireland. This is a trend that looks set to continue and we are excited to support more private equity-backed clients throughout their life cycle,” Rafferty said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years