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Virtual Event: Italian M&A and COVID-19 Impact

Watch Mergermarket’s Virtual Event on the ItalianM&A outlook and the impact of Covid-19 

Alessandra Castelli,Public Markets Editor at Acuris,GiuliaLasagni,Assistant Editor at MergermarketOlivierGilkinet, Senior Research AnalystatMergermarketand the special participation of Massimiliano Nitti, Head of M&A at Chiomenti sponsors of the webinar.  

They sat down to discuss the Italian M&A market outlook and explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing challenges facing dealmakers. 



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M&A activity in Italy in Q1

The Italian M&A had a strong start in 2020, prior the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the first quarter of 2020, 95 deals were announced, more than double than the first quarter of 2019.

M&A activity in the first quarter of the year was also driven by more stable economic outlook.

Q120 M&A activity was strong, at the same level as of Q4 in 2019, driven by Intesa San Paolo proposed acquisition of UBI Banca worth EUR 4.5bn, with very strong domestic activity, before the COVID-19 crisis.

There have been no buyouts transactions towards the end of February and March. Private equity firms were more focused on the portfolio companies, while in May private equity activity represented a significant part of M&A by deal counts.

Slowdown of deal activities due to lockdown measures, until when? 

M&A activity will still be weak for the remaining part of the year, due to the economical uncertainties and social distancing measures.

Potential sellers might not be willing to sell, due to lower valuation.

It seems that deal making won’t pick up until the end of the year or before Q4 2021.

M&A activity will pick up sooner than other countries

It might pick up sooner in Italy because of the crisis having had a larger impact than in other countries. Also, this emergency will provide opportunities to deploy capital. Italy might be more competitive than other countries for investments soon.

Italy compared to other European countries

Among the top five largest markets in Europe, Spain and Italy have been the most impacted countries by the pandemic. In Q1 the impact was more significant than other markets.

In Q2, Germany has been more resilient than other countries, where we have seen more transactions announced than UK.

First poll answers: Will Italy M&A pick up again?

The 45% of respondents answered 1H2021, following by a 33% in 42020 and 20% in 2H2021.

The most hit sectors based on Mergermarket data.

In the first place, there is Industrials and Chemicals, and Consumer, considered high in terms of deals counts due to the high number of companies present in Italy in these sectors.

This is followed by Financial services, although there were more transactions in this sector in 2020 than in 2019.

More resilient sectors 

The ones that they need less new equity, more on the buying side than selling side are online business in general due to a new way of living and working remotely, food and beverage, distributions, medical equipment, pharma, manufacturing.

Lower valuations will attract international investors? 

They might be attracted to cheaper companies, especially distressed sectors like fashion.

The lower valuations might also trigger the attention of shareholder activists.

Would the new measures on foreign direct investment lead to an increased presence of public investments into the Italian  M&A business environment?

Sustainability of the Italian public indebtedness, state aid, is very important that is provided to Italian companies.

The GDP in Italy is forecasted to suffer -10%, only comparable to war times. If the Italian will be able to enact reforms, then things might go back to normality.

The state is ready to help private companies who are experiencing a difficult time, so there might be an increase in public investment.


We are curating more virtual events and find out more about our upcoming virtual events here. 

Cecilia Rabagliati Speakers Acuris

Cecilia is responsible for speakers and event programmes at Acuris. She leads content for Debtwire's fixed income finance conferences in Italy, Spain, UK, Portugal, Benelux and Germany. She is also responsible for arranging Mergermarket's M&A events in Italy, Spain, Portugal, CEE regions and LATAM forums.

Cecilia Rabagliati Speakers Acuris

Cecilia is responsible for speakers and event programmes at Acuris. She leads content for Debtwire's fixed income finance conferences in Italy, Spain, UK, Portugal, Benelux and Germany. She is also responsible for arranging Mergermarket's M&A events in Italy, Spain, Portugal, CEE regions and LATAM forums.

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