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The number of mergers and acquisitions by Swiss companies reached a new high in 2018. Transaction volume rose compared to the previous year, but it still fell short of the record set in 2014. Novartis was involved in two of the biggest transactions.
According to a press release by KPMG, the Swiss economy reported a record-breaking 493 merger and acquisition transactions last year. The volume of all transactions with Swiss involvement amounted to $ 132.9 billion. Compared with 2017, the number of transactions therefore rose by 24.8% and their volume grew in the same period by 30.9%. The highest transaction volume since statistics were first compiled in 2007 was $ 188.1 billion in 2014.
The largest transaction volume by far was generated when Novartis sold its stake in a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline for $ 13.0 billion. With the acquisition of the US firm AveXis Inc. for $ 8.7 billion, the Basel-based pharmaceutical group is also in third place in the list of last year’s ten largest transactions. Another acquisition took place with Endocyte, a US company working in the area of cancer therapy. Here the volume amounted to $ 1.9 billion.
The press release states that the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry reported particularly high levels of M&A activity. This also applies to the consumer goods industry and industrial sector. The technology, media and telecom sector and financial sector were also extremely active. Nevertheless, the total transaction volume generated in these two economic sectors was still considerably lower.
Timo Knak, Head M&A at KPMG is quoted as saying that “Swiss corporations like ABB, Novartis, Nestlé and Glencore reached further milestones in their transformation journeys and conducted meaningful transactions, which helped them to either make substantial progress in their portfolio restructuring projects or complete these projects altogether.”