Mergers and acquisition notifications up 90 during 2015

Business | Thu 7 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
mergers and acquisitions

The number of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions notified to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) rose to 78 in 2015, up 90% on 2014.

As well as an increase in domestic M&A activity, this steep rise reflects 2014 rule changes that lowered Irish reporting thresholds; 39 out of 78 deals notified in 2015 would not have met pre-2014 thresholds.

Concurrently, Irish deals – transactions with an Irish target – rose to 80% of deals notified, compared to 35% pre-2015.

Additionally, despite an overall increase in filings and a buoyant M&A year internationally, foreign-to-foreign deal notifications fell year-on-year from 19 to 16. This also most likely reflects Ireland’s revised thresholds. These details are contained in an end of year Irish Merger Control review and analysis published by McCann FitzGerald today.

Philip Andrews of McCann FitzGerald noted: “Overall activity has risen sharply in 2015. We expect this trend to continue into 2016. It is due primarily to 2014 rule changes that lowered Irish reporting thresholds, although it may also reflect increased M&A activity. As the number of deals notified accelerates, the CCPC is taking more time to investigate mergers – another trend we’d expect to continue in the New Year. The CCPC generally aims to clear deals as quickly as possible, conscious that delay increases market risk for business.”

Damian Collins of McCann FitzGerald added: “New filing thresholds adopted in 2014 have largely achieved the policy aim: more Irish deals were notified in 2015 and fewer international ones. But some now question if revised thresholds are too low. Buying a relatively small business or property may now be subject to advance CCPC filing and approval. Two 2015 notifications concerned acquisitions of a single hotel and another concerned a single Dublin office building.”