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Talent, Tech, and Trade revealed as the key drivers for M&A, new research from Eversheds Sutherland shows

  • Ireland
  • General


According to a new M&A report launched today by leading global law practice Eversheds Sutherland LLP – ‘Putting the pieces into place: The next drivers of strategic M&A’ – 69% of Irish business leaders (70% globally) view the “triarchy” of talent, technology, and trade as core to their future M&A business strategy.

Talent: 71% of Irish business leaders (72% globally) see talent retention and acquisition as important in their organisations’ business strategy over the next year. 64% of Irish business leaders (and 62% globally) believe the ‘Great Resignation’ is acting as a catalyst for M&A as the battle for talent continues.

Technology continues to drive organisations’ business strategies, with 76% of Irish business leaders (almost 80% globally) seeking to improve their cyber security and three-quarters seeking digital transformation. Globally, M&A is seen as a rapid way to absorb new technology and expertise, with 74% saying M&A was important in bridging technology gaps.

Trade: Impacted by supply chain disruption and trade sanctions, 73% of Irish business leaders (68% globally) say that increasing supply chain resilience will be a strategic M&A priority over the next year. 69% of Irish business leaders (72% globally) also see increasing supply chain resilience as important to their organisation’s business strategy over the next year. In addition, in April 2022, 60% of global business leaders said supply chain dislocation as a result of the invasion of Ukraine would make vertical integration an increasingly important business strategy.

The global Eversheds Sutherland study is based on opinion research conducted in early 2022 amongst 1,200 business leaders across 16 markets around the world including Ireland. Respondents from a wide range of sectors provided both a detailed and expansive global view. In April 2022, a supplementary piece of research amongst 75 global business leaders provided insight into how the ongoing invasion of Ukraine is impacting M&A activity.

Enda Newton, Partner in the Corporate team at Eversheds Sutherland LLP, Dublin, said:

”We are delighted to launch our report ‘Putting the pieces into place: The next drivers of strategic M&A’ to the market. After a turbulent few years in the wider business landscape, several factors are impacting the M&A environment including the invasion of Ukraine, inflation and rising energy prices, rising interest rates, stock market turbulence and the ongoing effects of the global pandemic. All of these considerations have prompted Irish business leaders to reflect on how best to execute strategic M&A transactions in the current environment and position their organisations for the future.

“Notwithstanding these challenges, the study shows that organisations continue to face the same urgent strategic gaps that need to be bridged in order to grow. Our research revealed that the majority of Irish business leaders see talent, technology and trade as the main factors impacting the M&A landscape – these are the key strategic gaps that they will continue to seek to bridge through mergers and acquisitions activity.”

Other key findings include:

Accelerating appetite: What dealmakers value

In an age of transparency and the ever-increasing use of social media platforms holding companies to almost immediate account, this research revealed that brand and reputation are most valued by 81% of Irish business leaders (77% globally), making them the number one factor when considering what business leaders will pay for an acquisition. Well-established attributes such as increased market share, intellectual property and robust financial performance are equally regarded by Irish business leaders as essential requirements when considering an acquisition (cited as important by 73%, 72% and 77% of Irish business leaders respectively).

Strong headwinds in 2022

Over two-thirds (68%) of Irish business leaders agree that the rise of protectionism is now creating a more complex environment for M&A and, globally, 67% believe that protectionism is making exposure to growth markets more difficult.

74% of those surveyed agreed that the ongoing invasion of Ukraine is harming M&A activity owing to the direct impact of sanctions. In addition, 70% of organisations acknowledge that the ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic is still a significant challenge.

Despite the turbulent start to the year, the market is often quick to digest major events as business leaders look to reassess and reposition. For further information on the outlook for 2022 and to read the full Eversheds Sutherland LLP report see here.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP is the most established and largest global full-service law practice in Ireland and the law practice of choice for internationally-focused companies and financial institutions doing business in and from Ireland. Eversheds Sutherland LLP is on the legal panels of several state bodies and national organisations and counts many prominent domestic and international corporations and financial institutions (including Fortune 100 companies) in its growing client list.

About Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is a global top 10 law practice that provides multidisciplinary legal advice and solutions to a global client base ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest multinationals.

The practice has more than 70 offices in over 30 countries. Its Irish offices (Dublin and Belfast) serve as an important European hub for its international client base, employ over 300 talented professionals and have a strong tradition and culture of investing in world-class people and nurturing young talent. Eversheds Sutherland provides a full range of legal services, including corporate and M&A, dispute resolution and litigation, risk and investigations, energy and infrastructure, data protection, insurance and financial service, employment and pensions, intellectual property, real estate and construction, and tax.

Eversheds Sutherland holds the internationally recognised ISO 27001 certification for its exemplary data protection and information security in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for its Dublin and Belfast offices. This ensures it follows best practices in protecting its data, improving its cybersecurity posture and business efficiency, while also ensuring that it meets legal and regulatory data protection obligations.


This global study explores strategic M&A and reveals the next drivers for competitive advantage. Opinion research was conducted in early 2022 among 1,200 senior business leaders. Respondents were based in the USA, Ireland, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, UAE, Qatar, China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, South Korea and Singapore. The report covers a wide range of sectors including financial services, professional services, industrials, TMT, energy, consumer and life sciences. In April 2022, a supplementary piece of research was conducted amongst 75 business leaders from similar markets and sectors regarding the impact on M&A activity from the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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