The number and value of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) involving western European target companies was at its lowest point in the year in August, according to M&A tracker Zephyr. Zephyr recorded 1089 such deals in the month, with an aggregate value of $28.4bn, which represented a 47% decline in deals and a 75% decline in value compared with July. In its monthly M&A report, Zephyr noted that August is typically considered a slow month for M&A; however, compared with August 2012, deal numbers were down 21% and deal value by 6%.
Significantly, only four M&A deals involving western European target companies and conducted in August exceeded the $1bn mark, and the month's top two such deals accounted for 15% of the total value of all M&A transactions involving western European target companies in the month. The largest such deal recorded in August was a 100% acquisition of GSW Immobilien, a Berlin-based real estate company bought by its larger local rival, Deutsche Wohnen. The value of the deal is estimated to be at about $2.7bn. According to Zephyr, the deal aimed to “create one of the country's leading property groups, [and] position it to take advantage of the booming housing market in Berlin”.
While the biggest deal of the month involved two German companies, there were also a significant number of crossborder M&A deals involving western European target companies. Of the 20 biggest such deals by value, nine were crossborder. US companies were the most active, with their deals including the $1bn acquisition of a minority stake in Dutch electronics company Philips by New York-based investment firm BlackRock, and the $660m acquisition of Spanish beauty products company Colomer Group by Revlon, a US cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and personal care company.
Zephyr noted that, despite August being a slow month overall for M&A transactions involving western European target companies, it marked a relatively good month for the UK, with seven of the top 20 such deals in the month involving a UK firm as the target entity. There were 422 M&A deals worth $8.2bn involving UK companies in total, including the $792m institutional buyout of Skrill Holdings, a London-headquartered online payment service provider, by CVC Capital Partners, a UK private equity firm, and the acquisition of a 90% stake in London Luton Airport by AXA Private Equity, a Paris-based investment firm, for $588m.