Technology M&A activity to pick up in 2013, claims report

25 Feb 2013

A review of Ireland’s merger and acquisition (M&A) market for 2012 predicts that there will be a new phase of activity in this sector over the coming years, particularly as a result of the Government’s focus on supporting tech start-ups.

William Fry has published the results of its 2012 review of Ireland’s M&A market in which it reported a steady performance despite the Eurozone slipping back into recession.

The law firm has recorded a total of 82 deals with an aggregate value of €17.1bn (up from €14.5bn in 2011) in the 2012 review.

According to William Fry, this performance was driven by Irish companies increasing their market share worldwide, with outbound activity eclipsing both inbound and domestic activity for the first time.

The review noted a trend towards deals of a larger value in 2012, with four deals each valued at more than €250m taking place. Small and mid-market transactions were not as strong, with only 11 deals in the €5m-€15m range.

The report pointed to how M&A activity in the computer software space was quieter than anticipated in 2012, with only five deals being announced.

However, William Fry is predicting more deal-making activity in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) space in Ireland this year.

The review said computer software companies represented the bulk of TMT businesses that were announced as being for sale in the past six months.

William Fry is anticipating a new phase of growth in M&A activity for Ireland’s technology sector over the next few years. It says this is being spurred on by the Government’s interest in supporting tech start-ups, mainly through Enterprise Ireland.

While most activity in this sector still takes the form of venture capital funding, William Fry forecasts that larger transactions should follow in the coming years.

“The M&A market in Ireland appears to be on the path to recovery and, albeit against a backdrop of continued global economic uncertainties, there is cause to be hopeful of good performance in 2013 across a variety of sectors, particularly technology, pharmaceutical, medical and biotechnology,” said Bryan Bourke, partner and head of corporate and M&A at William Fry.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic