Top Mergers and Acquisitions in Spain in 2013

TOP MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS IN SPAIN IN 2013

Top Mergers and Acquisitions in Spain in 2013

Spain saw a slew of M&A deals in 2013 as companies put their wares up for sale at attractive prices to lure domestic and foreign investors. The M&A market notched up a nearly 30 per cent increase from a year earlier, with 1,183 deals for a total value of just under 71 billion euros, according to consultants TTR.

The most active dealmaker was Telefonica, not surprising given the bumper year for corporate activity in the European telecoms sector. Spain’s flagship company closed the most operations on both the buy and sell side in Spain in 2013, TTR said in its annual M&A report.

So what strategic objectives drove Telefonica to straddle both sides of the M&A fence last year? Amongst others, the company strove to boost its presence in growth markets and free up cash to pay down debt.

With its around 8 billion euro acquisition of Germany’s E-Plus, Telefonica has become the second largest European operator by number of mobile customers and revenue volume. Meanwhile, the sale of its UK broadband business to BSkyB and its Irish subsidiary O2 Ireland to Hutchison Whampoa added to its war chest by over 1 billion euros.

M&A HEATS UP FOOD INDUSTRY

Spain’s food industry was also a hub for M&A in 2013. In the first half of the year, Deoleo, the world leader in bottled olive oil sales, got the green light for its planned merger with Hojiblanca, an Andalusia-based cooperative that is the biggest producer in the world of extra virgin olive oil and table olives.

Sigma Group‘s takeover bid for Spanish processed meat producer Campofrio also took the food sector by storm. The Mexican frozen food group saw the deal as its opportunity to break into the European market. In December, Sigma and Campofrio minority shareholder China’s Shuanghui International Holdings agreed to share ownership of the firm.

BUILDERS, ENERGY COMPANIES ROTATE ASSETS

Building and services company FCC topped the list of sellers in TTR’s list of M&A deals for 2013, disposing of some non-core assets while also attracting two major international investors. In October, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates bought a 6 per cent stake in the company for 113.5 million euros, while unconfirmed media reports said billionaire investor George Soros had also acquired around 3 per cent.

The builder also agreed to sell 51 per cent of its energy division to Spanish investment firm Plenium Partners, earmarking the funds raised from the operation to cut its debt pile.

Paying down debt and taking advantage of growth opportunities was behind Repsol‘s sale of its liquefied natural gas assets to Shell in February 2013 for $6.7 billion. A major, long-awaited successful deal for the oil and gas giant.

For information on M&A operations in Spain, contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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