European M&A activity fell in terms of volume for the first six months of 2017 according to a new report from Experian but the pace picks up.
Deal activity by volume fell 15% compared to the same period last year in the region. However, despite lower volumes the pace has been busy for the first half of the year and is the second busiest in the last decade.
So far there are 6,682 European deals recorded. The pace has been set by higher levels of crossborder acquisitions such as China Investment Corp acquiring Logicor Europe and UK's Reckit Benckiser acquiring US baby milk producer, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and by an increase in the number of smaller deals below €10m.
In addition, the total value of European M&A deals of exceeded the same period last year by 12% totalling €495bn.
Marked by more deals over €1bn
Supporting the increase in total value has been a larger number of deals over €1bn of which there were 78 compared to 56 in H1 2016.
The UK had deals worth €156bn and was at the top of the regional table in terms of the value of M&A activity. Benelux followed with €118bn in total, up from €61bn followed by France at €106bn.
At the top end of the market, deals were characterised by heavy crossborder activity. The largest deal was French lens manufacturer Essilor, which purchased a 62% stake in Italian eyewear manufacturer, Luxottica Group for €25.5bn.
The next biggest transaction was Italian toll roads group, Atlantia's €16.3bn tender offer to acquire Spanish counterpart Abertis, over ten years. An initial attempt to combine the two companies failed.
Industrial size deal making
Although industries experienced a decline in activity by volume manufacturing was busiest sector in the region with 2,009 transactions. This was a 23% decline in volume compared to the same period in 2016.
Infocomms and financial services were next most active with significantly smaller declines compared to other industries. Infocomms had 1,786 deals and financial services recorded 1,658 deals - a -5.95% and -9.89% decline respectively.
Infocomms recorded the best value growth of any sector in H1 up 61% with deals worth €87bn. Some impact on lessening deal volume will be down to regulatory hurdles and the turbulence of President Trump's time in office so far.