Welcome to this year’s concluding edition of KPMG’s Nordic Deal Trend Report – highlighting the M&A landscape in Q4 2023 across the region. While the report data centres on the broader Nordic region, this version has been somewhat tailored to cater more effectively to our Danish readership.

As the curtains close on the final quarter of 2023, the Nordic M&A landscape still remains fairly robust– at least when looking at it from a number of deals perspective. So far, with 523 announced deals in the fourth quarter – bringing this year’s total to 3025, it is only slightly down compared to 2022 but slightly above 2021. Looking at deal sizes and total announced deal value, the picture is a bit more blurry. With a total announced value of deals in 2023 of EUR134.3 across the Nordics, it has more than halved compared to record-breaking 2021 and is also still down compared to 2022. In other words, and as touched upon in previous versions of this report, the major-ticket deals across the Nordics from a value perspective are still to re-materialise. A couple of Danish outlier situations announced in 2023 that are worth mentioning from a value sense, are DSV’s logistics joint venture with NEOM and Deutsche Börse’s public takeover of SimCorp – both surpassing the EUR4bn mark. Also worth noting is that, from a value perspective, half of the Danish top-10 deals fall in the life sciences and healthcare segments. 

Sector breakdown by deal count Q4'23 vs. Q3’23

Nordic deal trend report

Reflecting on the past year, while 2023 may not etch itself as a record-breaking year in Nordic M&A history, it did surpass initial expectations and has demonstrated a commendable level of M&A activity. Encouragingly, there are no indicators suggesting a negative turn for 2024. The Nordic market seemingly adapts to evolving environments, despite ongoing macroeconomic challenges, highlighting the industry's resilience in navigating challenges and ensuring a consistent deal flow.    

One thing that stands out is the level of heightened diligence embraced by the M&A community in their due diligence procedures. There is a notable increase in resources allocated to deals, reflecting not just the intricate financial landscape and subdued sentiment, but also a progressively stringent regulatory environment. ESG scrutiny and disclosure have transitioned from being optional to imperative components of due diligence processes. Corporates now prioritise ESG analysis and reporting, seeking heightened transparency and compliance with their ESG obligations. Moreover, the surge in digitalisation and cyber security incidents have underscored the urgency for dealmakers to prioritise technology due diligence and cyber security measures from their diligence providers.

As inflation rates seem to decline and central banks contemplate easing monetary policies, we anticipate a slight resurgence in M&A deal volumes for 2024 – however, in the short run, we find it improbable for average deal values to reach the peak levels witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. All in all, we anticipate a somewhat promising year ahead, drawing strength from a probable increase in private-equity engagement, corporate activity and divestitures. Key sectors like technology, industrial manufacturing, renewables and healthcare are the ones we expect to sustain high interest levels – adding that we also see an increased appetite in circular economy and artificial intelligence assets.

Sending you our best wishes for a promising beginning to a new year, we are eager to witness in which direction the Nordic M&A market will head going into 2024.