The Austrian M&A market in 2015 was weaker than the previous year, at least with regard to the number and the value of large transactions (min. value €100 million) and underperformed other markets, in particular the booming US M&A market 2015. What was missing in 2015 compared to the previous year were large acquisitions of or investments in major Austrian companies, such as Constantia Flexible Packaging, Telekom Austria, C.A.T. Oil, BUWOG or Vienna Airport which were the five largest targets in 2014.
The largest deal – if successful – would have been the attempted € 2.6 billion takeover of Conwert Immobilien by Deutsche Wohnen in Feb 2015. This would have been a real estate deal which we classify as asset management. Conwert as a target became still the 4th and the 7th largest transaction in 2015 with the sale of two 25% stakes for € 285 milllion to Adler Real Estate and for € 229 million to the investment company Mountain Peak. The two listed real estate companies, CA Immobilien and Immofinanz AG also tried to acquire minority stakes in each other by way of unfriendly tenders resulting into a small 6.08% stake of CA Immobilien into Immofinanz AG.
The largest closed deal was a banking deal, the acquisition of a 45% stake in Romanian Unicredit Tiriac Bank S.A. from Ion Tiriac by the larger Joint Venture Partner Unicredit Bank Austria for € 700 million.
The second largest deal 2015 was a foreign acquisition by an Austrian company in Thailand, the takeover of Golden Foods Siam by BRF GmbH for € 340 million. The largest acquisition in Austria followed as No. 3 with the € 300 million takeover of packaging company Duropack by British DS Smith plc. from a private US equity house and a remaining private Austrian investor.
We have seen only one Austrian utility deal when Electricity de France sold its longtime strategic 25% stake in Energie Steiermark in an auction for € 270 million to the Australian infrastructure investor Macquarie Group. Another packaging deal was the buy-back of a 25% stake in Constantia Flexibles Group by the Herbert Turnauer Foundation for € 240 million which was the 6th largest deal in 2015. The second biggest Austrian acquisition abroad was the 8th biggest deal, the acquisition of Belgian CMOSIS from the US private equity house TA Associates by ams AG for € 220 million. In 2014, the 12th largest transaction had this deal size.
Worth mentioning are the deal no. 9 and no. 13: the largest takeover of an Austrian internet start-up company, Adidas acquired runtastic GmbH for € 220 million from Axel Springer Group, and the largest growth financing of an Austrian biotech start-up, a $ 120 million financing provided by VC companies to Nabriva Therpeutics.
In 2015 we counted 8 deals for corporate control with a value of € 100 million of above plus five minority stake sales of at least € 100 million. We have counted two deals (both closed) between € 50 and € 100 million and 21 deals between € 10 and € 50 million of which 12 became effective (closed) in 2015.
In 2014 we saw two deals above € 1 billion and a total of 16 deals above€ 100 million. We also saw 25 deals between € 10 million and € 100 million.