M&A activity on the European market picked up pace compared to the years of the global recession. The value of mergers and acquisitions deals on the European market reached 797.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, which marked a slight decrease in comparison to figures for 2014 and 2015, but still a notable growth compared to 2009. In terms of outbound and inbound merger and acquisition activity for various European countries, the United Kingdom was the leader on the market in the first half of 2016, with 448 outbound deals and 482 inbound deals. Sector-wise, the majority of European M&A deals targeted companies operating in industrials and chemicals (20 percent of the market), closely followed by technology and financial services.
The process of merging two companies together or acquiring a different company is typically executed in a multistep fashion. Therefore, such deals are usually managed by leading financial advisory companies. On the European market, Goldman Sachs was the leading financial advisor for M&A transactions, with 386.8 billion U.S. dollars in deal value in 2016. Legal advisors also play an important role in the M&A process. As of the 1st half of 2016, Davis Polk & Wardwell was ranked as the leading legal advisor firm for M&A transactions in the United Kingdom, consulting on deals with an aggregate value of approximately 10.7 billion British pounds.
On the Central and Eastern European market, the number of merger and acquisition deals reached 1,985 in 2016, which marked a slight decrease compared to previous years. When looking closely at sectors, the real estate and construction industries noted the highest levels of activity, with 357 successful deals, followed by manufacturing with 312 deals. The largest deal noted on that market in 2016 was the acquisition of the Russian company Rosneft, for over 10 billion euros.