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Benelux M&A

Latest update: 20 January 2021

Benelux saw a clear recovery in dealmaking in the second half of the year after a lacklustre first six months. Although count was down 17.1% year-on-year, the region still accounted for just over 10% of European deal count. The region’s value dropped by 12.4% over 2019, following the slowest first half of the year on record. The value was largely driven by the EUR 32.2bn Altice deal, marking the second largest deal targeting the region on Mergermarket.

  • Consumer M&A suffered as a result of the pandemic, recording a 44% drop over 2019’s deal count. Only 74 deals were announced during 2020, versus an average of 101 deals seen per year between 2015 and 2019. Tech, meanwhile, has become the most active sector in the region, with its deal count more than doubling from 2016 (72 deals). The sector saw 160 deals worth a combined EUR 3.1bn in 2020, accounting for 22% of the region’s deal making activity by count, its highest share on record.
  • Buyouts activity returned to pre-pandemic levels in the final few months of the year, with 54 buyouts (EUR 3.7bn) announced in Q4, versus 32 and 41 in Q2 and Q3, respectively. The technology sector continues to account for the lion’s share of the activity and expected to continue given the rich candidates in the region according to Mergermarket intelligence. Meanwhile, Q4 also saw the highest number of exits on record on a quarterly basis, with 36 exits worth a disclosed EUR 4.6bn, eight of which in the technology sector.
  • The region recorded a strong year in terms of outbound M&A, with Q4 marking the second highest record by count, as 102 outbound deals worth EUR 19.9bn were announced. On a full-year basis, outbound activity stood at EUR 44.1bn with 320 deals, compared to EUR 55.8bn and 355 deals in 2019. Philips’ offer for BioTelemetry in December marked the largest investment into the US in 2H20, further illustrating tech companies’ ramping up their digital health capabilities as the use of telehealth accelerates in the wake of the pandemic.

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