A&L Goodbody tops deal rankings for NI M&A activity


Corporate law firm A&L Goodbody (ALG) has again been ranked as the leading legal advisor by both value and volume of total M&A deals transacted in Northern Ireland so far in 2021. 

In a report published today by global information services company Experian, ALG’s Belfast office is listed as having advised on the most significant deals by value in Northern Ireland, having acted on over £1.1billion of transactions in the first three quarters of this year. Also leading on volume, the firm advised on 46 deals in the same period.

The firm’s 25-strong Corporate team is led by partners Alastair Keith, David Rowan, Peter Stafford, Mark Stockdale and Mark Thompson.

Commenting on the report, Alastair Keith, Head of Corporate at ALG’s Belfast office said: 

“We are delighted to be named once again by Experian as the leading legal advisor by both value and volume of deals transacted. 

“2021 has been an exceptionally busy year for transactions. The quality and significance of the deals we have delivered is testament to the expertise and commercial focus of our industry-leading team of corporate lawyers, supported by our wider team of over 120 people in our Belfast office.

“Although deal activity has been largely sector agnostic, we have been struck by a number of trends. In terms of value, there have been several transactions in 2021 with a disclosed value exceeding £50m. This includes the £775m sale of Euroauctions to Ritchie Bros, the £87m sale of Merchant Square and the investment into Learning Pool by Marlin Equity Partners. Another significant local transaction was the sale of Balcas by SHV Energy. We were delighted to have a lead advisory role on each of these. 

"There has also been a notable increase in mid-market transactions in the jurisdiction – such as the acquisition of the North West Independent Clinic by Kingsbridge Healthcare Group and the acquisition of the Slieve Donard Hotel by US buyer AJ Capital Partners.

"Outside the jurisdiction, Northern Irish companies have been making strategic acquisitions.  Examples include the Mzuri Group, which made a number of acquisitions globally, and Haldane Fisher who just recently acquired English company, Prowood.

"Encouragingly, we have seen continued provision of significant growth capital into the market, having advised Datactics, Cumulus NeuroScience (formerly Brainwavebank) and Loyalbe on their respective investments.  We also advised Selazar on its £20m investment, thought to be the biggest outside investment into a Northern Ireland start-up." 

According to Mr Keith, this strong deal flow is expected to continue in the months ahead, despite continued uncertainty in the market stemming from the global pandemic. 

“Looking to 2022, we are seeing a strong pipeline of local and international deal activity and are cautiously optimistic about the M&A landscape for Northern Ireland over the next 12 months,” he said. 

“We look forward to ALG advising on many more local and international transactions in the year ahead.”    

Alastair Keith, Head of Corporate at A&L Goodbody's Belfast office.

We look forward to ALG advising on many more local and international transactions in the year ahead.

Alastair Keith