Fewer mergers and acquisitions in 2016, Brexit has an impact

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Dutch mergers and acquisitions activities slowed somewhat in 2016 with about 10% fewer deals than in the previous year. The market was tempered by Brexit as traders waited to determine its effects, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday.

The paper surveyed the main M&A law firms in the Netherlands and noted that activity increased in the final quarter when it became evident that damage from Brexit would be limited in scope.

M&A firms were working at full pace in the last two months of the year to complete major deals like NN’s acquisition ¬†of insurer Delta Lloyd and the sale of Philips’ Lumileds unit to US investment company Apollo.

The market came to a virtual standstill in the summer after the UK voted to leave the European Union. Nevertheless 2016 was one of the better years for M&A activities since the 2008 crash, the paper said, noting that 2015 was a record-shattering year.

The paper is cautiously optimistic about 2017, noting there could be further uncertainties when Brexit gets underway or from unexpected election results in Germany, France and the Netherlands. M&A activities are bolstered by the availability of cheap financing and the vast mountain of cash held in private equity.

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