Schoenherr’s busiest practice, according to Partner Vladimir Cizek, has been Corporate/M&A, with a lot of activity involving banking and financial services, technology targets, and healthcare and life sciences in the last 12-plus months. Cizek explains that technological advancement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing demand for businesses to grow have contributed to increased activities in these sectors.
Cizek points out that each of these sectors has its own driving factors as well. “Healthcare, which was quite developed even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has received much higher attention recently. The technological advancement and increased life expectancy, both in the Czech Republic and worldwide, have contributed to growth in transactional activities in this area.” In addition, Cizek says “we now see increased activity in the IVF segment or genetic labs & testing, and transactions in that area are becoming more and more frequent. For instance, recently, KKR bought the IVF portfolio from IIA in Europe.”
Another major sector with a high number of M&A activities, according to him, is banking and finance. “We saw substantial growth and consolidation efforts in this sector. Local and regional banks such as Moneta Money Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, Societe Generale, or Erste have been very active in the region, both in terms of acquisition appetite and growth.” The main reason behind it, Cizek says, “is that these institutions try to expand geographically, buy competitors’ portfolios, and grow in size in general.”
Finally, Cizek explains that, “similarly to the banking and financial sector, the TMT sector is also very active, increasingly attracting more and more strategic investors aiming to buy a critical add-on solution, sometimes combined with a willingness to buy a product or service before someone else does. We are witnessing a gradual growth of the VC scene in the Czech Republic, with a number of start-ups having a mid-term potential to approach unicorn status.”
“As for the outlook for the upcoming few months, personally, I expect a bit of a slowdown in M&A deals, due to the current geopolitical situation,” Cizek notes. “I don’t expect a substantial decline, however, some deals might stay in the pipeline longer than expected. In particular, the banking and finance sectors will continue to grow, as financial institutions are keen on looking for new opportunities. The healthcare sector will most likely remain active as well, as we still have to deal with the pandemic-related issues. As for technology, I cannot imagine that activities in this sector will ever stop – some segments of it might fade away and be replaced by new ones, but the technology sector and related M&A deals will most likely remain active. Overall, I believe that despite the potential slowdown, the transactional sector will be progressing.”