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Freshfields Transactions

| 2 minutes read

DAX/MDAX M&A survey: 10 years of German deals

How active have Germany’s 90 largest listed companies been in the global M&A market in recent years?

Our latest survey of the last decade of acquisitions and investments found that the 40 DAX and 50 MDAX companies were more cautious in their inorganic growth activities in 2022, but still quite acquisitive overall despite the various dampening factors that have been slowing economic growth in recent months.

The study’s key findings include:

  • While the number of acquisitions and investments by the current DAX and MDAX constituents increased almost steadily in the nine years before 2022, the total was down 11.2 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021. The published deal values dropped by about 35 per cent, from $77.8bn in 2021 to $50.4bn in 2022. In percentage terms, these declines are broadly in line with the trend also observed globally last year, where the deal value was down 34 per cent from 2021.
  • Looking at the sectors in which the DAX and MDAX companies acquire and invest, digital markets are now outpacing DAX and MDAX companies’ investments in other industries. The fact that very few of the DAX and MDAX constituents are pure tech companies further underscores the fact that M&A has become an important tool for leading German corporates to advance their digital transformation.
  • Similarly, some of the economies with a high density of companies in innovative areas like tech and life sciences have also seen a steep rise in M&A investments from Germany's largest listed companies – for example, Israel saw 41 deals by DAX and MDAX companies in the three years 2020, 2021 and 2022 , but only nine deals in the seven prior years (2013 and 2019).
  • Looking at the DAX and MDAX together, Germany has continued to be the top investment destination over the last decade (677 deals), even if almost on par with the US (604 deals). In fact, when looking at the DAX companies only, the US has become the top investment destination in the last decade, having already overtaken domestic German transactions in 2016, with the MDAX constituents also seeing the US as an increasingly popular destination. 
  • The study also shows that leading German companies continue to seek inorganic growth in China. China has remained attractive for DAX companies in particular, with activity increasing since a drop in 2016. Combined volumes for 2020, 2021 and 2022 account for more than half of all German-China deals in the last decade. 
  • Within emerging markets, deals by the DAX and MDAX constituents had been on the rise since 2018, though activity appears to have tailed off in accordance with the overall trends in 2022 (18 per cent down year-on-year between 2021 and 2022). 
  • Deals by DAX and MDAX companies in Russia have been declining since 2017 and have come to a standstill since the start of the war in Ukraine. 

Access the full report, which:

  • sets out – via a series of interactive data visualisations – the trends that have shaped the past 10 years’ M&A activity of the DAX and MDAX companies; and
  • discusses the factors likely to shape the transactional landscape in 2023.