Review: M&A trends for 2017

In contrast to the global M&A trend in 2017 (M&A dipped 3.2% in value compared to 2016), the Nordic market recorded its most active year on the Mergermarket records(since 2001). Consequently, the Nordics’ share of the total European M&As for 2017 stood at an all-time high sales, accounting for 12.5% of activity, ahead of both France and Italy (source: Mergermarkets “Global & Regional M&A Report FY 2017”).

In Admincontrol, we also noted a significant volume of M&A activity in the Nordic markets. 2017 was a strong year for Admincontrol and we saw a 27% increase in total sales for Virtual Data Rooms in the Nordic markets compared to 2016. This positive trend is continuing in 2018 where we had an “all-time high” in January in terms of data rooms sold.

Looking at last year more closely, we have noted the following trends:

1: Increased demand for Virtual Data Rooms in the Nordic Markets

The Head of Virtual Data Rooms in Sweden, Emelie Jarnesten, says that a Data Room is a “must have” in the M&A-process.

During 2017 we witnessed a big demand for Virtual Data Rooms in the Nordic markets – especially in Sweden, which experienced an increase of 42% in total Virtual Data Room sales compared to 2016. In 2017 we also added a dedicated VDR sales representative in Finland and quickly gained a solid market share in the Finnish market.

Emelie Jarnesten, explains that a Virtual Data Room is now a “must have” in the M&A process:

“It`s becoming more common to use a Virtual Data Room also when preparing for a potential acquisition, merger or exit. In 2017 we saw that companies of all sizes were active M&A users. We also noted that start-ups, fundraisers and MedTech companies were clearly on the rise”.

Jarnesten says the Swedish market also saw the benefits of word-of-mouth recommendations in 2017:

[quote text=”People%20want%20a%20serious%20and%20professional%20supplier%20when%20handling%20sensitive%20data.%20This%20has%20received%20increased%20attention%20due%20to%20the%20GDPR%20that%20will%20come%20into%20force%20on%20May%2025th%20this%20year.%20Admincontrol%20is%20well%20established%20in%20Sweden%20and%20our%20customers%20trust%20us%20with%20their%20data%20and%20business%20critical%20projects” author=”Emilie%20Jarnesten%2C%20″ author_position=”Head%20of%20Virtual%20Data%20Rooms%20in%20Sweden” /]

2: Strong performance for Private Equity

According to a report written by the global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, Private Equity played a major role in shaping the M&A landscape in 2017. The report shows that buyouts were up nearly 28% in value for the first half of the year (compared with the same period in 2016) and exit was up over 10%. Also, the second quarter had great results according to Norton Rose Fulbright – showing the highest buyout values since 2007 and the highest exit value on record.

Admincontrol has also noted this trend. Private Equity firms often use Virtual Data Rooms to start preparing for a potential exit long before a sales process is initiated. Admincontrol experienced a significant increase in the request for Virtual Data Rooms from this group. And we’re proud to have been the Virtual Data Room provider for many spectacular deals in this sector, such as KKR’s Visma exit in June 2017, one of the biggest software buyouts of all times.

3: New EU regulations affecting M&A

Towards the end of 2017, it became increasingly clear that the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is also impacting transactions. In the second half of 2017, we saw a significant increase in requests for information related to compliance with the GDPR during a transaction. From both the seller and the buyer side, questions related to how to enable secure, yet fast and simple, sharing of sensitive information classified as personal data, were on the rise.

Business Developer, Mari Nygård, held a workshop on the topic of Due Diligence and the GDPR.

Mari Nygård, one of our VDR Business Developers, held a workshop for Dutch M&A representatives on the topic of Due Diligence and the GDPR in September.

We’ve put together a blog post with take-aways from this workshop, paired with additional guidance from our Head of Security, Ole Martin Refvik.


With the GDPR entering into force in May 2018, we expect even more interest in this topic in the coming months.

What’s in store for 2018?

Admincontrol has responded to the increase in demand for Virtual Data Rooms by adding additional sales representatives in the various local markets such as Finland and Sweden, as well as a further ramp up in product development. We will continue such investments in 2018.

With a promising start to 2018 , we expect the growth to continue, and to see increase in both deal activity and deal size during 2018. In October last year, Visma acquired Admincontrol. This acquisition offers new opportunities and added value to customers in both companies. We will be able to work together to deliver the optimal customer experience through the market’s best software solutions.

Would you like a demo of our Admincontrol Data Room? Get in touch today!

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