Swiss firms in record number of mergers and acquisitions

ABB was among the Swiss companies in big M & A deals last year, selling its power grid division to Hitachi. Its top officials are seen here at a press conference on the USD 9.4 billion deal. Keystone

The number of merger and acquisition deals involving Swiss companies hit a record high in 2018, according to a report by consultancy firm KPMG. 

This content was published on January 16, 2019 - 20:53

Activity peaked in a number of sectors including financial services, consumer markets, technology, media and telecommunications, power and utilities, says KPMGExternal link. There were also a record number of private equity transactions. 

In total, there were 493 merger and acquisition transactions involving Swiss companies in 2018, up some 25% on the previous year. The volume of transactions reached $132.9 billion (CHF131.7 million), or almost the same amount in Swiss francs. This is a 30.9% increase on 2017, but below the record of $188.1 billion set in 2014. 

KPMG says Switzerland’s “fire power” is reflected in the fact that outbound deals (230) were more or less double the inbound deals (117) last year. 

“This comes as Swiss firms continue to transform their businesses and portfolios, to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and advances in technology,” according to the international auditing and consultancy firm. 

“For example, financial services players invested in technology players such as payment solution providers. In pharmaceuticals, Novartis bought gene therapy specialist AveXis whilst disposing of its Consumer Health Care Joint Venture to GSK.” 

KPMG also cites the example of Nestlé which acquired the worldwide distribution right for Starbucks products outside its coffee shops.

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