Clairfield International closed another year of intense activity in 2021. Amid the most active M&A market since 2007 despite market challenges, Clairfield closed landmark deals, expanded to new geographies, and enhanced sector leadership to close 2021 at record levels.
Clairfield closed over 140 transactions in 2021 with a cumulative deal value of EUR 6.2 billion on behalf of clients ranging from start-ups to large corporates. Deals were closed in all sectors and, in line with market activity, technology deals represented the greatest portion at 32% of all deals. In 2021 we advised more acquisitions—46%— than sales at 40%, a tribute to our high success rate in buy-side work. Our landmark deals this year include:
- The acquisition by Transgourmet (Switzerland) of GM Foods (Spain), a EUR 200 million deal in the foodservice sector.
- The sale of a minority stake in e-commerce leader Expondo (Germany) to Credit Mutuel (France).
- The sale of Kiwa (the Netherlands) to SHV, a repeat client in the testing and certification space, whom we have accompanied as trusted advisor for the past 15 years.
- The sale of Ser.Nav to Customs Support, backed by Castik Capital, and the subsequent acquisitions on behalf of Customs Support of customs providers in Sweden, Italy, and the UK, deals involving a crossborder team in five countries and support from our multinational services team.
- The acquisition of UK paper company Essential Supply Products by the Italian Lucart, also involving a crossborder team.
- The acquisition of Nettix by longtime Finnish client Alma Media. Clairfield Finland provided a fairness opinion for this EUR 170 million acquisition.
Our successful deals were reflected once more in rankings of financial advisors by Mergermarket and Refinitiv. Clairfield takes great pride in ranking alongside the biggest names in investment banking. In addition to our longstanding position at the top of the tables for Europe, we are delighted to have achieved top 10 placements in Latin America and Australia. Reflecting our track record in the technology sector, we also ranked in the top four for technology deals in Europe.
We credit our track record to the calibre of our partner firms around the world. New partners in 2021 expanded our reach in Europe and Asia. We welcomed new partner firms in London, adding to our long-standing presence in Birmingham, and in Mumbai, adding to our Asia Pacific partners, including collaboration partner Yamada Consulting Group, a top investment bank in Japan. In May we partnered in Zurich to expand on our client offering in the key DACH region.
With our new partners, we were pleased to welcome new leadership to our sector teams. Angus Russell in London became the head of the services team, while Albert Schander in Frankfurt and Tom McCarthy in Birmingham became co-heads of the industrials team, two of our most active sector verticals. Meanwhile Marino Marchi, Italian energy expert, joined David Hassum of Australia, in chairing our energy, cleantech & resources team, where we see a rise in middle-market transaction activity.
Clairfield further invested in the next generation of advisors with Clairfield Academy training sessions for our junior team and key appointments of new managing directors.
“This year has shown how the market bounds back even after huge challenges. M&A activity is at the highest level since 2007. With our own record-breaking deal volumes and values, we are seeing no slowdown in activity,” said Alexander Klemm, executive chairman of Clairfield. “We were fortunate to have invested in outstanding talent in 2021 and are primed for another great year for M&A in 2022. As the cycle continues to be strong, we are mindful of downside risks in the macro environment, focusing as ever on solid client relationships, deep sector and practice group expertise and enhanced integration of Clairfield partner firms. We are grateful for yet another successful year in service to our clients.”