Positive development in the Norwegian transaction market.
The Norwegian transaction market has experienced a positive trend since the 2008 financial crisis. H1 2017 saw 190 transactions, a higher level of transactions than before the 2008 financial crisis. As of July 10th, Mergermarket has registered 103 Norwegian transactions (1) in Q1, and 87 transactions in Q2, reflecting a slight increase from the H1-2016 levels.
The Norwegian transaction market is still strongly correlated with the European transaction market, reflecting the fact that we are part of a global market(1). Similar analyses comparing the Norwegian transaction market with the Nordic transaction market confirm the results.
However, the Norwegian transaction market is still dominated by Norwegian buyers acquiring Norwegian targets and Norwegian targets seeking Norwegian buyers. Norwegian targets tend to be acquired by Norwegian companies. When Norwegian buyers make acquisitions abroad, Sweden is the jurisdiction of choice. When Norwegian targets are acquired by non-Norwegian companies, Swedish companies are the most frequent acquirers.
Tech trend in the Norwegian transaction market?
It seems that there is a particularly positive trend in the tech industry (2). The recent IPO of Evry, where Wiersholm was appointed as legal advisor to Apax (the majority shareholder), underpins this. Moreover, according to the Norwegian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, there is also a positive fundraising trend in the PE industry, with a “record high fundraising level” reported by Norwegian firms in 2016, totaling NOKb 17 (3).
Wiersholm recently advised on the Visma-transaction where KKR and Cinven sold their 28% and 11% (39%) ownership to HG Capital, Montagu Private Equity, Intermediate Capital Group and Singapore Government Investment Corporation. The transaction value was approximately EURm 4,700. Although the value is extraordinary, this might well be “a typical Norwegian transaction” going forward, with a target in the tech industry and PE players involved on one or both sides of the table.
Further, Wiersholm advised on the transaction where the City of Oslo acquired Hafslund ASA for EURm 969, with the objective of dividing the company into three separate entities and selling Hafslund Market (EURm 482) and Hafslund Heat (EURm 251) to Fortum.
We are proud to say that we are one of the most trusted legal advisors within the field of transactions, and Wiersholm confirms the long-standing Tier 1 position in the Norwegian transaction market. Wiersholm has advised in connection with 24 deals, with a reported value of EURm 7.801 in the first half of 2017, ranking Wiersholm in first place in the Norwegian transaction market (4). The value of several of the deals is undisclosed.
Still few IPOs in Norway
Even though the transaction market in Norway is enjoying a positive trend, with a high number of transactions, the IPO market has been relatively quiet (5). While quite a few companies have been preparing for IPOs, only a few have made it to the market so far.
The Oslo Stock Exchange has had only six IPOs so far this year (of which Wiersholm has advised on two) and Oslo Axess had only two listings. Merkur Market, which was established in January 2016 as a supplement to the regulated market places, already has 14 listed companies.
By comparison, the Stockholm Stock Exchange had five IPOs on a single day in June. So far, there have been more than 60 new listings in the Swedish markets (including First North, an unregulated market place). Time will show if we are at a turning point where the Norwegian IPO market picks up speed again.
- Norwegian transaction defined as Norwegian target, seller or buyer.
- The industry classification is based on the Mergermarket definition, where some industries have been grouped for simplicity.
- Norwegian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (NVCA) – Activity Report 2016. NVCA defines a Norwegian private equity firm as a firm with headquarters located in Norway.
- According to Mergermarket report: Global and Regional M&A: H1 2017.
- Based on Oslo Stock Exchange statistics database.