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European bankers eye M&A window

The right political environment for strategic, cross-border M&A deals within Europe might finally be here. Investment bankers know they need to make the most of it – while it lasts

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Some of the shiniest optimists in M&A are those concentrating on Europe, even though it lags a few paces behind the US cycle of prolonged economic growth, full equity valuations and rising rates.

In Europe, executives of companies with repaired balance sheets are basking in economic stability and revived growth, as well as plentiful available financing at historically low interest rates, all of which boosts confidence.

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Colm Donlon, Morgan Stanley 

“But perhaps most importantly you have a political vision that encourages core Europe to come together, partly to protect against the downside of Brexit and partly to compete with US and Asian regional champions,” says Colm Donlon, co-head of M&A for EMEA at Morgan Stanley.

“That’s why in fragmented markets you are suddenly seeing more large-scale pan-European consolidation in sectors that have been quiet for some years, such as Germany’s Siemens and France’s Alstom merging their rail operations to create a European champion.”

That deal was announced last September, within hours of Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne urging greater European integration and a new partnership with Germany.

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