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Europe had a record year with deal value up 22% to EUR 990bn although volume was slightly down by 6% to 6,200 deals. There was a significant imbalance between inbound and outbound activity with aggressive US investment fuelling a 54% increase in European inbound M&A but a weak Euro contributing to a 27% decrease in European outbound M&A. 2015 also saw increased activity from private equity and other financial investors, both as buyers and sellers. Europe maintained a healthy 25% share in the global M&A market.
As we move into 2016, we see various grey or black swans. There is the long predicted slowdown of the rate of economic growth in China; the greatest migration to Europe for a century across a fragile Schengen zone; interest rate rises in the US and a clampdown on inversion deals; a US presidential election with the possibility of one of the most divisive candidates in US election history; a more aggressive corporate tax climate; a ground breaking EU in / out referendum in the UK which could change the political face of Europe; and the dark shadow of ongoing terrorist threats.
Yet major strategic moves made in so many industries are bound to elicit a forthright response from competitors. Funding capacity remains strong whilst the low oil price (a great threat to the oil industry itself) provides an advantage to manufacturing industries.
Our new CMS European M&A Study 2016 covers nearly 2,800 deals and we focus on the 391 CMS deals in 2015 and the 1,654 CMS deals in the period 2010 – 2014 by way of comparison. We have also introduced some new features and trust that the Study will assist you in your everyday M&A life.