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Spanish private equity continues to drive activity reaching EUR 3bn in 1Q19

Mergermarket, the leading provider of M&A data and intelligence, has released research showing that in 1Q19, Spanish private equity continued to be active, with buyouts in the region reaching EUR3bn (18 deals), while exits reached EUR 2bn (7 deals), up from EUR 1.3bn and EUR 1.5bn for buyouts and exits, respectively in 4Q18.

  • Inbound M&A made up the bulk of Q1’s activity
  • There was a significant drop in outbound activity, the lowest quarterly value since 4Q17
  • Spain has received just two deals EUR 1bn this year, compared to seven last year

Mergermarket, the leading provider of M&A data and intelligence, has released research showing that in 1Q19, Spanish private equity continued to be active, with buyouts in the region reaching EUR 3bn (18 deals), while exits reached EUR 2bn (7 deals), up from EUR 1.3bn and EUR 1.5bn for buyouts and exits, respectively in 4Q18. A continued favourable investment environment and high levels of dry powder are driving private equity dealmaking, continuing on last year’s strong performance when both buyouts (EUR 23.8bn) and exits (EUR 16.3bn) reached their highest value figures on Mergermarket record. The data was announced at Mergermarket’s 12th Spanish M&A and Private Equity Forum held in Madrid on 13th June, in partnership with Cuatrecasas and Banco Santander. 

Spain has received just two deals valued EUR 1bn this year, compared to seven such transactions in the equivalent period in 2018. Deals targeting companies engaged in consumer-related sectors - DIA, Univ. Alfonso X el Sabio (acquired by CVC Capital Partners Limited, a UK-based private equity firm) - and Telecommunications  - Hispasat - have helped drive value figures.

Jonathan Klonowski, Research Editor EMEA at Mergermarket commented: “Despite healthy levels of private equity investment, Spanish M&A fell somewhat short of recent years, in line with figures seen across Europe”. 

Juan Orbea, Head of M&A Iberia at Santander commented: “We see continued interest from investors in the Spanish M&A market. Sectors such as renewable energies and infrastructure still drive a good part of the activity. In the mid-market segment, there are a number of innovative, fast growing companies that could be close to coming to market”.

Inbound M&A made up the bulk of Q1’s activity, with 47 foreign-led transactions worth EUR 5.6bn. Outbound activity, on the other hand, has not been as prolific, with only EUR 259m recorded across 19 deals, the lowest quarterly value since 4Q17 (EUR 232m, 19 deals). Uncertainty surrounding Spain’s political future and a mixed economic outlook appears to have been key to the downturn.

Javier Villasante, Partner at Cuatrecasas commented: “Although the number of transactions in recent months may not seem as high as last years’, we still see a lot of activity and foreign investors are as active as ever. High multiples, lack of targets and stiff competition between PE firms and aggressive strategic buyers outscore political uncertainty and regulatory environment as the biggest challenges to close deals".


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