M&A activity: Italy and Iberia 2021 figures

We think that it may be interesting to analyse M&A activity before and after the advent of Covid-19, for this reason the report published by Datasite, the global leading provider of Saas services for the M&A sector, has been taken as a reference. Indeed, Datasite in partnership with Mergermarket, a business development tool designed specifically for the M&A sector, has recently published the Deal Drivers report regarding the first quarter of 2021. The report examines local market activity worldwide, including very useful information about M&A (mergers and acquisitions) trends, top bidders, future challenges, and sector-specific information.

After a volatile 2020, characterized by a sudden decline in deals immediately following the first wave of Covid-19 and the successive lockdowns, the market has seen a strong rebound as dealmakers adapted. About this, a set of figures regarding M&A activity for the first three months of 2021 were published by the EMEA region.

After a difficult 2020, M&A activity in Italy, Spain, and Portugal showed strong recovery, with deal value exhibiting a double-digit growth despite the decrease in volumes. Indeed, Deal Drivers has analysed M&A trends in the first quarter of 2021 and has reported a deal value in Italy, Spain, and Portugal equal to 36.3 billion, a 28% quarter-on-quarter and a 99% year-on-year rise. For what concerns volumes, 248 deals were concluded, showing a 34% drop on the previous quarter and a 7% drop on the previous year.

Deal value for the region has been boosted by flourishing activity in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) sector: year on year, total TMT deal value increased from 1.4 to 9.7 € billion. The largest TMT deal in the quarter was the merger of Nexi, a Milan-based payments group, with rival SIA to form one of the largest fintech group in Europe. The 4.8 € billion deal is the latest example of merger in European payments processing, where size has become increasingly important to manage rising customer demand. The second-largest sector by value was energy & utilities, which saw a year-on-year increase of 227%, with deal value coming in at 7.3 € billion. The financial services sector ranked as the third largest by deal value, where in the largest deal of the quarter the Italian Treasury made a 4.3 € billion acquisition of SACE, an export agency, from Cassa depositi e Prestiti, the National Promotional Institution.

As it is written in the aforementioned report: “looking ahead, dealmakers in Italy will hope that easing pandemic restrictions and upbeat forecasts for economic growth will sustain deal activity and the M&A market will be able to continue building on momentum from the first quarter”. Especially, Italy is projected to see 4.2% GDP growth in 2021, while Italy’s FTSE Mib is up 10.18% for the year.