KEYWORDS: Worldline, Ingenico, Nexi, Takeaway.com, eBay, Thyssenkrupp, Advent International, Cinven, Liberty Steel, KKR, Viridor, Pennon, SoftBank, Arm, Nvidia, WeWork, Borsa Italiana, Refinitiv, Deutsche Boerse, Six, RSA Group, Intact Financial, Tryg, Bain Capital, Ellie Mae, Walmart, Asda, Sainsbury‘s, Apollo Global Management, Lone Star, TDR Capital, G4S, GardaWorld,
Clearly, 2020 was never going to be a normal year for M&A activity in the face of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, there have been some standout transactions. When it comes to deals worth $5 billion or more, activity has been decidedly lumpy this year, with a notable fallow period between March and September. Many of the major deals in the year’s cohort speak to broader economic and industry trends—not all of them COVID-related. This list, while not comprehensive, looks at some of the key European themes at play over the past 12 months.
Takeaway.com secured its £6 billion (around $7.9 billion) acquisition of its rival Just Eat in January, following prolonged bidding with rival suitor Prosus that had begun the previous July with Takeaway’s initial bid. The deal, which created the continent’s largest food delivery company, got the final nod from regulators in April. It was a bitter loss for Prosus, which made three separate cash offers before it had to concede defeat. The Dutch-listed tech company was also beaten to the punch by Norway’s Adevinta in July when it had tried to buy eBay‘s classifieds unit in what was eventually a $9 billion deal.
French payments company Worldline agreed to buy its rival Ingenico without too much fanfare in February. The €7.8 billion (around $9.5 billion) deal, which created the fourth-largest payment services provider in the world, was one of the last major European deals to be announced before the pandemic forced widespread lockdowns. The deal closed in October, and just a month later, Italian digital payments company Nexi, itself the product of several mergers, agreed to buys its Danish rival Nets in another €7.8 billion deal.