We highlight the key European M&A trends in the first half of 2021, and provide our insights into the outlook for M&A moving forward.

Introduction

As COVID-19 lockdowns and travel bans across Europe end, so too does the hiatus of European financial services M&A. With M&A surging to levels not seen since the fabled heyday of the 1990s, 2021 promises a bull market of extraordinary proportions.

In this edition, bring you the key deal highlights and M&A trends across Europe and the UK. Focusing on Banks, Fintech and Other Financial Services, we also provide our insights on the outlook for M&A in H2 2021 and beyond. 

Key highlights from H1 2021 include the following:

  • Banks: As the COVID-19 hiatus of bank consolidation activity ends, European bank M&A  consolidation activity reaches unprecedented levels.
  • Fintech: E-commerce and online financial services experienced exponential growth during  the COVID-19 pandemic. The significance of digital offerings, and the RegTech tools to safeguard institutions and customers, has never been more apparent.  Europe's unicorns are at full gallop towards the digital future.
  • Asset/Wealth Management: Market consolidation continues at a feverish pace. The UK tops the  leader board, notching up 17 noteworthy deals in H1 2021
  • Payments: The COVID-19 pandemic drove e-commerce to levels never seen  before—payment rail, service and solution providers responded with  an unprecedented flurry of M&A activity
  • Stock Exchanges/Clearing Houses/Trading Venues: Global FMI juggernauts snatch up fund platforms, trading venues  and data analytics providers, under the increasingly vigilant gaze of  European competition authorities
  • Brokers/Corporate Finance: Financial advisers turn to M&A to deliver additional bandwidth,  capability and resources to ride the post-lockdown M&A tidal wave
  • Consumer Finance: Hyper-specialisation of the European consumer finance market  continues, with POS, entrepreneur, freelancer, migrant and payroll  finance businesses securing growth capital in H1 2021
  • Specialty Finance/Marketplace Lending: M&A levels dipped in H1 2021. Whilst institutional banks backed  trade and B2B finance platforms and VC supported P2P, SME and  treasury finance disruptors, both investor categories required  convincing to part with cash.