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As with domestic deals, the past few years have represented tough times for those involved in European Mergers and Acquisitions. The Lawyer recently published a very interesting article on the very subject matter taking a broad overview over 2014 and contrasting that against recent years.
That analysis together with the data compiled by Thomson Reuter (TR) highlights the improving trends in corporate transactional matters not just with a domestic focus but for those corporate deals featuring a European target. Indeed TR’s figures highlight a 6.1% increase in European M&A to 13,923 up from the previous years tally. To further cement that upward trend, the value of those deals is cited as $870.6bn compared to $562.6bn the year before. An impressive increase of around 54%.
The figures themselves support the continuing trend of substantial improvement in the corporate markets. More impressive seems to be the fact that this is being achieved with a much more balanced and measured approach to financing deals.
The improvement in market conditions has no doubt led to a greater level of liquidity and availability of cash and whilst interest rates remain low, the opportunity to fund investment is there. 2014 also saw a number of private equity houses exiting their investments as we saw a proliferation of high profile IPO’s. This in turn has increased the cash profile of a number of PE houses who are now seeking to find a new investment and European acquisition remains firmly on the table.
Sitting firmly at the top 5 in terms of target value were Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Skadden and Slaughter & May representing around $891bn in terms of total value of targets and equating to around 626 deals.
The landscape is certainly much improved but 2015 has areas of uncertainty both nationally and into Europe which will no doubt have a part to play – instability in the Eurozone and the ongoing economic tensions with Greece as well the impending general election will all have their part to play in setting the tone for European M&A in 2015.
Activity remains high and it is a busy time for corporate lawyers nationally and within London. London continues to attract incredible talent both drawing people in from the rest of the country as well as from outside. Within legal recruitment we are seeing greater recognition for those with wider quality corporate experience from within Europe as well as out into commonwealth jurisdictions.
In a market as active as this it remains a great time to find a role that can give you the quality and depth of complex European, national and international corporate deals.
If you are a corporate lawyer looking for a new opportunity within London, please contact Paul Warburton for a confidential discussion on the opportunities open to you or visit our website BCL Legal.