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Mergers and acquisitions in Italy - Statistics & Facts

Merger and acquisition (M&A) is an expression used to describe the process of combining or consolidating two companies in one. The main reasons why companies plan and finalize M&A deals include market consolidation, expansion in foreign markets, or diversification. M&As are generally divided into inbound, outbound, and domestic - depending on the origin of the investor and the location of the head office of the target company. Italy is not among the protagonists of the M&A market worldwide. The value of M&As finalized in Italy reached 52 billion euros in 2019. That same year, the total volume of M&A activity worldwide exceeded three trillion euros. Even at the European level, Italy lagged. In 2019, the UK, Germany, and France received more than half of the total investments in M&As in Europe.

Generally, several reasons prevent potential investors from betting on Italy, including an unclear judicial framework, political instability, and bureaucracy. Despite these shortcomings, Italian companies still attract foreign investors and buyers. In terms of value, the majority of inbound M&As in Italy, involving a foreign investor and a domestic company, originated from the United States, followed far behind by the United Kingdom. M&A activity in Italy appears to be fairly distributed among different sectors. In 2019, M&A deals mainly involved companies operating in the sectors of financial services, energy and utilities, and consumer markets. On the other hand, telecommunications, media and technology ranked as the least dynamic sector for M&A activity in the country. In terms of number of deals, however, consumer markets was the sector which recorded the largest number of M&As in 2019, with the food segment being the most dynamic.

M&A deals are generally the result of lengthy negotiations, evaluations, market but also legal analysis. This process involves several steps requiring the involvement of financial advisors, which ensure that the deal can be finalized within the existing legal and financial frameworks. During the first half of 2020, BonelliErede, a law firm headquartered in Milan, was the leading financial advisor for M&A deals in Italy in terms of value. On the other hand, Nctm Studio Legale, also a law firm located in Milan, ranked as the leading financial advisor in the country terms of deal count.

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Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Italy

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