• Bech-Bruun News
  • 14 January 2013

Bech-Bruun leads the Nordic 2012 M&A market

Press release

The Danish M&A transaction market saw an increase in the number of transactions in 2012, in comparison to the year before. Bech-Bruun acted as legal advisor on more transactions than any of its Nordic peers, concludes a new report from the international bureau, Mergermarket.

In 2012, the Danish M&A market experienced increasing activity compared with the year before, resulting in a 9% increase in the number of transactions.

Jacob Hjortshøj, Chairman of the Board of Directors and M&A partner in Bech-Bruun, explains that the increased activity is the result of the economic crisis:

“One reason for the increased activity is that several sale or acquisition plans that were originally shelved because of the crisis have become relevant again. As a result of the crisis, the difference between buyers’ and sellers’ price expectations began to widen considerably, resulting in an accumulation in the market of M&A transactions. What we are seeing now is, in fact, an attempt to carry out the shelved projects.”

This upward trend, however, has been less pronounced with our Nordic neighbours. Activities plunged at the beginning of 2012, but partially picked up again during the last two quarters of the year. The European market was severely affected by the debt crisis throughout 2012 and suffered an 8% decrease in the number of transactions.

“Denmark is currently experiencing an increase in M&A transactions, whereas the European market has witnessed a fall, compared with the year before. However, we should not forget that Denmark was clearly a poor performer compared with, for instance, other Scandinavian countries, so this backlog may partly explain the current upsurge,” says Jacob Hjortshøj.

The M&A market in 2012

  • Denmark recorded a 9% increase in the number of transactions compared with 2011.
  • The Nordic countries recorded a 3% decline in the number of transactions, and the European market a decline of 8%.
  • In Denmark, the energy sector (power supply, mining and utilities) accounted for 16% of all transactions, followed closely by the IT and telecommunications sector (14%), the industrial sector (10%) and the financial sector (9%).
  • In the Nordic markets, the industrial sector (23%), consumer goods (12%), IT and telecommunications (12%) and energy (11%) accounted for the largest number of transactions. The European market was dominated by transactions within the energy sector (29%).
  • Strategic buyer transactions exceeded, by far, financial (private equity fund) transactions.
  • In 2012, the number of Danish enterprises sold to non-Danish buyers remained unchanged from its 2011 level, whereas the number of Danish acquisitions abroad rose significantly.

Bech-Bruun transactions in 2012

Bech-Bruun, the best performing Nordic law firm, according to the Mergermarket report, assisted its clients on 66 transactions, including some of the year’s largest and most important transactions:

“We are still experiencing substantial interest from Chinese enterprises wanting to invest in Denmark, particularly in the energy sector and in businesses with strong brands. Asian investors also continue to be prime movers in the European M&A market,” says Jacob Hjortshøj.

Bech-Bruun’s top ranking in Mergermarket’s Nordic League Table is the result of many years of M&A specialisation and commitment.

“Our expertise within M&A transactions is unmatched. Our size also enables us to handle very large transactions, as we are able to appoint the right people, at the proper level, from our ranks. This, combined with our considerable experience and knowhow, means that we can render legal assistance at a competitive rate,” comments Jacob Hjortshøj.

View our Mergermarket ranking here.

For more details, please contact Jacob Hjortshøj, Chairman of the Board of Directors and M&A Partner, on +45 25 26 36 00.

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