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What will be the deal of the year?

Leading European dealmakers will recognise the most impactful M&A deal of the year in the 12th edition of the European M&A Awards on 6th December 2018.

How did we form the shortlist?

It was no mean feat to select the shortlist for 2018’s deal of the year after a year that saw M&A rebound following uncertainty around the Eurozone, political tensions and trade wars. 

In November, our team of editors reviewed the year’s activity and considered the significance of the top deals in their individual context. The shortlisted deals represent a set of transformative trends seen across Europe this year.  

‘This year has seen dealmakers act even more strategically than ever given the backdrop of uncertainty and political tension. Changing consumer habits have also influenced corporate activity resulting in a very interesting set of deals this year.’ Giovanni Amodeo, Global Head of Research at Acuris, commented. ‘Take-private deals, joint-bids and heated blind auctions are all represented amongst the shortlist.’ 

The Shortlist

Acquisition of Abertis by ACS and Atlantia 

Spanish construction company ACS, its German affiliate Hochtief and rival bidder Atlantia of Italy hashed out the details of an agreement to take over the toll-road company Abertis during March of this year. The announcement of the two companies’ intentions first surfaced in May 2017 locking the two companies in a bid war. An agreement sealed in March created the basis of a joint bid that combined Abertis’ cashflow with the construction companies’ investment pipeline opening up opportunities for greenfield and brownfield projects. Spain’s takeover regulations added extra pressure to the deal as the parties were given a month to finalise. Overcoming the obstacles, the final €16.5bn package was announced at the end of October.

Acquisition of Shire by Takeda

Takeda Pharmaceutical’s £46bn strategic bid for Irish drugmaker Shire could see the Japanese pharmaceuticals company catapulted into the ranks of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. The deal, announced in May of this year, is subject to Takeda’s shareholder approval of the issuance of new equity, but the company has already clinched approval from key regulators in China, the US, and Japan. Despite the high levels of debt the company is taking on to fund the deal; the company remains confident about securing a two-thirds approval from shareholders.  

Acquisition of Sky by Comcast

US cable giant Comcast outbid Rupert Murdoch’s Fox in a rare blind auction process for British broadcaster Sky in October of this year. Comcast had separately entered a bid war over the summer with Walt Disney Company for the majority of assets for Fox, but Disney prevailed reaching a $71.3bn deal that includes Fox’s 39% stake in Sky. In July, Fox raised its offer for Sky to £24.5bn then was trumped by Comcast’s £26bn offer for the UK company’s 23 million subscribers and Premier League football rights. The bid war drove Sky’s shares up to £17.27 per share and was beset by regulatory issues amid concerns over media plurality and the degree of Murdoch’s influence over the UK media landscape. 

Acquisition of Innogy by Eon

Eon, the German energy company, announced its offer for Innogy, a subsidiary of rival RWE, in March 2018. The deal for struggling Innogy represents a landmark reconfiguration of the utility sector in Germany. The agreement will see Eon focus on power networks and retail customers while RWE will focus on renewables through a series of asset swaps. After facing significant personnel concerns and declining financial performance at the beginning of the year; the transaction will create two differentiated business models and saw RWE’s share price by 9.2%, Innogy’s share price by 12.1% and Eon’s share price by 5.4%.  

DK Telekommunikation’s Take-Private Sale of TDC

The DKK67.8bn take-private sale of TDC to a consortium named DK Telekommunikation saw the Danish telecoms company formally delist its shares from Nasdaq Copenhagen following the sale of its Norwegian operators to Telia valued at NOK 16.5bn. The offer received strong commitment from TDC’s shareholders due to the industrial rationale of the transaction to focus on its Danish businesses NetCo and OpCo. The all-cash offer was one of the largest on record in Denmark resulting in sizeable proceeds to allow the company to significantly deleverage its capital structure and focus on further investing in its strategic vision in Denmark.  

Acquisition of HSH by Cerberus Capital Management and J.C. Flowers & Co. 

A group of investors led by Cerberus Capital Management and J.C. Flowers & Co. agreed to acquire HSH Nordbank AG for €1bn in February of this year. The privatisation of the German federal state bank ended the years of uncertainty that started when the European Union ordered the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein to sell the bank in 2015. Having suffered under investments in the US subprime mortgage market and woes in the shipping industry, the bank appeared closer to a wind-down due to a lack of interest from potential buyers. The sale of the portfolio of the bank’s non-performing loans also enabled HSH Nordbank to remain competitive in the future without state aid and paved the way for privatisation of a federal state banks in Germany. 

How to vote

Attendees of this year’s European M&A Awards will have the chance to vote for the winner themselves via an online link throughout the evening. The votes will be collected by the events team and the award be announced by our host at the end of the ceremony.  

Matthew Robinson Event Director Acuris

Matthew is responsible for the content, production, marketing and operations team for custom events and conferences. 

Matthew Robinson Event Director Acuris

Matthew is responsible for the content, production, marketing and operations team for custom events and conferences. 

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