This morning’s City AM was awash with M&A stories. Dubbed ‘Merger Monday,’ 23rd April saw Vodafone move a step closer to buying Cable & Wireless Worldwide, while Nestle snapped up Pfizer’s baby food business, Astra Zeneca agreed to buy US-based Ardea Biosciences, Thomson Reuters agreed to sell its healthcare arm to private equity firm Veritas Capital and Edinburgh Airport was sold to Global Infrastructure Partners. Phew!
Why so much activity on the day? Coincidence, or is it a combination of factors finally falling into place to encourage M&A activity?
One is greater pressure from private equity funds to make investments or to exit existing ones – especially for houses planning to fundraise over the next few months. Another is progressively healthier corporate balance sheets, and a slightly increased availability of debt finance.
Whichever way you look at it, these and the other high profile deals in the pipeline are good news for the European M&A market.
Acquirer confidence continues to increase, notwithstanding concerns over the Eurozone, and deal activity at the top end tends to lead the mid-market, which follows shortly behind. Here at Livingstone we are already seeing increased appetites from both private equity houses looking for new investments and corporates seeking growth by acquisition in an otherwise sluggish environment.