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Bulge bracket finds slim pickings in emerging Europe

Appetite for acquisitions in the outperforming economies of emerging Europe is booming, despite political concerns. Deal flow remains concentrated in the mid-market, however, as a shortage of opportunities frustrates would-be big-ticket buyers.


At Trigon in Warsaw, managing partner Piotr Chudzik is in buoyant mood. His M&A team is as busy as it has ever been in the 29-year history of Poland’s largest home-grown investment bank. The deal pipeline is bulging with international firms eager to invest in central Europe and Polish entrepreneurs looking to sell up. 

“This is a very good time for us,” he says. “Last year was one of our best ever and this year is shaping up to be just as good.”

From Goldman Sachs’s office across town, however, the picture looks less rosy. Unfortunately for Artur Tomala, the bank’s point man in central Europe, the transactions that are keeping Trigon busy are mostly far below Goldman’s radar. 

In the 12 months to the end of March, only seven M&A deals worth more than $500 million were announced in the whole of central and southeastern Europe, according to Dealogic. Even lowering the bar to $400 million only adds another nine transactions to the mix. 

“The region has broadly struggled with a consistent supply of deals of meaningful size,” says Tomala.

This shortage of big transactions is not for want of demand.

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