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Nordic M&A

Latest update: 8 October 2020

M&A in the Nordics recovered considerably in the final quarter of the year after a lacklustre first half. A total of EUR 41.3bn was spent in the region in 4Q20, the region’s highest quarterly value since 4Q06, driven by five deals worth at least EUR 1bn announced in December. Despite the uptick in the final few months, overall Nordic activity fell to EUR 64.5bn (1,117 deals) in 2020, 17.1% down by value on 2019 (EUR 78.1bn, 1,203 deals) with 86 fewer deals.

  • One bright spot for Nordic dealmaking in 2020 was the continued rise of tech M&A, which reached its highest annual deal count on Mergermarket record. In total, 231 tech deals were announced, worth a combined EUR 6.8bn. The sector has now seen an increase in the number of deals in the sector for nine successive years. Despite seeing 32 fewer deals than 2019, the industrials & chemicals sector was the most active by value, securing EUR 15.1bn across 214 deals. This represented an 18.6% increase by value versus 2019 (EUR 12.7bn, 246 deals).
  • Crossborder M&A was key to the uptick in the second half of the year, particularly in the final quarter. There were 98 inbound deals worth EUR 15.8bn announced in 4Q20, representing the highest quarterly value and volume on Mergermarket record. This pushed the annual foreign investment value to EUR 28.3bn, 7% lower than the 2019 value (EUR 30.5bn). Outbound M&A also experienced a clear uptick in the second half of the year – resulting in the annual value reaching its second highest annual value on record at EUR 45bn.
  • After a slow first half, private equity firms were particularly active in the second half of the year. Buyouts reached EUR 16.6bn (129 deals) in 2H20, including the acquisitions of Recipharm and Torghatten announced in December, after registering just EUR 951m (67 deals) in the first six months. Exits similarly saw a noticeable uptick up to 67 deals worth 18.6bn in 2H20, compared to just 41 exits worth a combined EUR 105m in the first half.

Announced Date
Target Company
Target Dominant     Sector
Bidder Company
Seller Company
Deal Value     EUR(bn)
Nets A/S
Business Services
Nexi SpA
Hellman & Friedman LLC; Bain Capital LP; Advent International Corporation; GIC Private Limited
Entra ASA (Norway)
Real Estate
Samhallsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB

Entra ASA
 (91.76% Stake
Real Estate
Castellum AB

Industrial & Financial Systems AB
EQT Partners AB; TA Associates Management LP
Ahlstrom-Munksjo Oyj (Finland)
Industrials & Chemicals
Bain-Ahlstrom-Viknum-Belgrano Consortium


Please refer to the Nordic trendspotters for additional intelligence and trends on the Nordics.

Part I

Part II

Part III

by Jonathan Klonowski

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