One of the key findings of the report is that 2013 saw the CEE region collectively produce 475 deals worth €27.9bn, marking a 10% increase in volume and a 56% increase in value from 2012. “In 2013, M&A activity in Central and Eastern Europe picked up significantly from the levels of previous years, despite a still somewhat difficult economic and political environment in many parts of the region generally, and the Eurozone in particular,” said Dieter Spranz, partner at Wolf Theiss’ Vienna office. “This development, and the typical deal drivers we have recently seen, give us some reason to take a cautiously optimistic outlook in 2014 for M&A in this part of the world.” Elaine Green, Senior Deputy Editor, Mergermarket, added: “Poland and the Czech Republic are benefiting from the cautious optimism in the Eurozone. An example of a would-be PE deal is T-Mobile Czech Republic (TMCR), which is being primed for an exit by sponsor Mid Europa, as reported by Mergermarket. However currency fluctuations are a concern in some parts of the region such as Hungary where foreign investors are tending to shy away. IT and agriculture could see some attractive low-priced targets, however.” Other key findings from the report include:
§ The past year has seen a sizeable portion of large-scale M&A driven by foreign buyers. Netherlands-based PPF Group made two of the year’s priciest acquisitions, paying €2.5bn for a 65.9% stake in Telefonica O2 Czech Republic and €1.3bn for a 25% stake in Czech financial services company Generali PPF Holding.
§ Sector trends: The TMT sector accounted for 32.5% of total CEE deal value in 2012-2013 – up from 19.8% in the period from 2008-2011. According to Mergermarket’s Heat Chart, which logs the number of “company for sale” stories announced over the past six months, the consumer and industrials and chemicals sectors – which were the busiest by volume in 2012-2013 - are both generating the highest volume of potential M&A targets going into 2014 (95 and 90 respectively).
Regarding legal developments, the new Civil Codes in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania stand out and we have therefore dedicated our main legal article to this topic. As in the previous edition, we again shed some light on country specific macroeconomic (provided by CEEMEA) as well as legal developments.
The Wolf Theiss editor team comprised partners Ron Given, Ancuta Leach, Tomas Rychly, Siegfried Seewald, Dieter Spranz, Harald Stingl, Luka Tadic-Colic, Janos Toth and PG coordinator Viktoria Molnar.