The German M&A market in 2015 was almost as strong as in the previous year, but underperformed other markets, in particular the booming US M&A market 2015. The number of transactions larger than € 10 million and the aggregated value of these transactions were slightly below the strong figures reached in 2014. However, we also saw some larger takeover attempts in Germany that failed and some planned divestitures that did not come to fruition in 2015. What was missing compared to the previous year were very large US acquisitions by German corporates like we saw the year before by Merck KG, Bayer, ZK Friedrichshafen (these were the top three deals with a combined value of > $35 billion), Siemens, SAP, Infinion and Continental (together another € 16 billion+).
In 2015, the most active German corporate in the US was pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim with two large and pending US deals: Boeringer announced the sale of its generic drugs business Roxane Laboratories Inc. for $ 2.8 billion to Hikma Pharmaceuticals in July and announced last month that it is in exclusive negotiations of an asset swap deal with Sanofi, including the $ 12.5 billion takeover of the animal health business Merial Inc. from Sanofi and the sale of its consumer health business for € 6.7 billion to Sanofi. The only other large investment (> € 1 bn) of German buyers in the US was the € 2.5 billion acquisition of the location based services business HERE Holding Corp. from Nokia Oyj by a three party Joint Venture of the three German luxury car manufacturers Audi, BMW and Daimler. The second biggest foreign acquisition in 2015 was the € 6 billion takeover of Italcementi S.p.A. by HeidelbergCement that is also still pending.
All other large foreign deals (> € 1 billion) were German divestitures by Porsche (NL-based leasing operations), Volkswagen (Suzuki stake), Deutsche Bank (Hua Xia Bank) and E.ON (Norwegian oil & gas exploration business).
The largest domestic and largest deal of the year is the still pending public takeover of listed Deutsche Wohnen AG (residential real estate business) by its competitor Venovia for €13.3 billion which was announced in October. The investors with the deepest pockets for acquisitions in Germany were North American investors, among them more corporate buyers than private equity investors. The largest private equity deal was a secondary deal when Terra Firma sold the German freeway service station and restaurant chain Tank & Rast for € 3.9 billion to an investors group led by Allianz Capital.
Like in 2014, we counted two deals greater than € 10 billion and a total of 15 deals greater than € 2 billion. The number of deals € 1 billion < x < € 2 billion increased slightly from 9 deals in 2014 to 11 deals in 2015. However, the number of deals between € 100 million and € 1 billion decreased by approx. 15% to 100 deals in 2015 and the number of deals between € 10 million and € 100 million decreased by approx. 5% to 144 deals in 2015.