Transactional summary of 2020 – GESSEL M&A Yearbook

It is with pleasure that we present to you GESSEL’s fourth transaction yearbook, summarising the work of our firm’s M&A practice in 2020.

To state the obvious, developments in corporate M&A over the past year were overshadowed, like all other realms of life, by the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be difficult to overstate the initial shock wrought by the coronavirus outbreak on global business. Some sectors of the worldwide economy yet have to recover, and some may be permanently hobbled.

The reaction of the M&A market to the coronavirus outbreak was not unlike that of any other part of the economy. Everything came to a standstill, everybody held their breath… transactions were put on hold or aborted altogether. Yet M&A rebounded astonishingly quickly, at least outside the sectors most affected. Looking at the various statistics, overall decrease of the M&A transaction volumes and values from 2019 was only 5-6%, and the second half of 2020 was actually not worse than the same period the year before. Deal valuations (including the EBITDA multipliers) were preserved – or, in some cases, actually increased. If, then, the outbreak of the pandemic did not paralyse mergers and acquisitions and the market returned to a broad semblance of normality so quickly, we can be excused for looking ahead to 2021 with cautious optimism.

For our modest part, we at GESSEL endeavoured to keep up, adapting our organisational solutions to the new normal while continuing to stand by our Clients – and, more broadly, to navigate the new layer of complexity brought on by emergency legal measures enacted in the face of the pandemic. It is with a certain pride that we note that, looking back on the past year, it has been business as usual, and in fact more. Our M&A specialists advised on over 50 transactions, of which almost 40 have been successfully completed, making 2020 the best year to date for our firm’s M&A practice!

Please let me take this opportunity to thank our Clients for their continued trust and for the challenging projects it has been our privilege to advise on. As 2021 gets underway, GESSEL is as ready as ever to support you in all your transaction related needs!