von Burc Hesse, Dr. Tobias Larisch

The German M&A/PE market was off to a good start in 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, unsettling the market and leaving many market participants to wonder whether we were going to face a situation comparable to the financial crisis in 2007, when there was a shutdown in the capital markets and M&A dropped precipitously.

When business went largely virtual in 2020, so did M&A activities. While there was a significant slowdown in the second and third quarters in M&A/PE activities, no drop-off happened comparable to the one in 2007. According to Refinitiv’s Global Mergers & Acquisitions Report, in terms of deal value, there has even been an increase in announced M&A transactions with German involvement of 18% compared to 2019 (while the number of transactions was indeed lower than in 2019 due to the slowdown in the second and third quarters). The German M&A/PE market has hence proved to be resilient despite the challenges resulting from the pandemic, and private equity’s share in German M&A deals even increased compared to 2019.

By Drew Levin. Maarten Overmars, Richard Butterwick, Terry Charalambous, and Catherine Campbell

Warranty and indemnity insurance (W&I) has become a common feature of European transactions in recent years, amid a strong sellers’ market that has enabled vendors to offload risk to buyers. According to the most recent edition of the Latham & Watkins Private M&A Market Study, which examined transactions between July 2016 and June 2018, the proportion of transactions employing W&I has continued to increase — from 8%, 13%, and 22% of deals in the previous three editions of the survey, to 32% for the latest period surveyed. We believe M&A deal teams should be aware of changes and enhancements to W&I that will bring insurance coverage closer in line with the US market. In our view, the developments are positive for M&A bidders.