London-based insurer Aviva plc’s recently agreed to acquire life and health insurance firm Friends Life Group Limited (LSE:FLG) in a transaction valued at $10.8 billion on November 21, 2014. The deal ranks as the largest announced financial sector M&A transaction in Europe this year and the biggest European financial M&A deal since Japanese financial services firm ORIX Corporation (TSE:8591) agreed to acquire a 90% stake in asset management firm Robeco Group N.V. from Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. in a transaction valued at $11.2 billion in February 2013.
To date, S&P Capital IQ data indicates that the announced deal value of European financial M&A transactions, now at nearly $249 billion, stands at its strong year since 2007 when deal proceeds topped $497 billion. Furthermore, with over 3,800 announced transactions to date this year, the number of European financial M&A deals is on track to approach the annual record of 4,204 announced deals occurring in 2011.
Looking ahead, a number of European financial transaction could be at hand according to published reports. For example, Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. (BIT:ISP) is looking at a possible bid for Coutts & Co Ltd, the wealth management arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LSE:RBS) while Spain’s Banco Santander, S.A. (CATS:SAN) was said to be studying a possible acquisition of Italian bank Banca Carige S.p.A. (BIT:CRG) for around €700 million.