Mergermarket Private Equity and M&A Forum Spain

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid


08.30 - 08.55


09.05 - 09.10

Chair’s opening remarks and presentation 

Rupert Cocke
Rupert Cocke Senior Editor, Head of Iberian Coverage, Mergermarket
09.10 - 09.30


Join us for a timely keynote address that will provide an authoritative perspective on Spain's macroeconomic climate and the policy actions being taken to foster stability and growth. As Spain emerges from the pandemic's economic shocks, a complex web of challenges now confront businesses, investors, and policymakers alike. Elevated inflation, rising interest rates, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical tensions have created a volatile operating environment rife with both risks and opportunities. Our keynote speaker is at the forefront of monitoring these macro forces and calibrating Spain's regulatory and fiscal policy responses. They will share candid insights into the economic projection data driving decision-making across government and central banking authorities.

09.30 - 10.20

Opening panel: Iberian M&A and private equity outlook

Dealmakers are bullish for a busy 2024 executing deals after a focus on origination in 2023. Large cap deals in the pipeline are prevalent in the energy sector, including Endesa and Acciona, but the private sector is also set to see more exits this year as KKR and EQT are expected to enter sales processes. Exit opportunities are likely to be secondaries, as only a handful of IPOs are expected in 2024, but mostly in the tech sector. Private-to-public deals emerged in 2023 and could continue into 2024 as financing terms progressively improve. Despite a slow year for private equity in 2023, bilateral deals could be on the horizon in 2024 as funds innovate to close the pricing gap. Portugal is also expected to see increased activity in 2024, but an important driver for dealmaking will be the Portuguese government’s fund and facility by feeding into chosen private equity funds to capitalise SMEs. Against this dynamic backdrop, panellists will discuss:  

  • Considering the shift from origination to execution in 2024, which strategies are dealmakers employing to capitalise on the current market dynamics in Iberia, and how do these strategies differ from those in 2023? What are the trends in Spain and Portugal?  
  • Which sectors are gaining momentum in the Iberian region? Specifically considering the telecoms, aerospace and defensive sectors. 
  • What challenges and opportunities do the government interventions in the region set to bolster deal activity pose for both domestic and international investors, and how might they shape the broader landscape of dealmaking in the region? 
10.15 - 10.45

Networking break

10.45 - 11.30

Panel: Private equity activity in Spain – fundraising, deployment and exit opportunities

Despite reaching good numbers in 2023, private equity transactions fell by value and volume in 2023 – breaking the positive trend and decreasing for the first time in recent years. The decreased activity could be attributed to a lower value of exits which decreased 43% in 2023, prompting the question of where the exit opportunities are in the region in 2024? However, the outlook for 2024 remains positive as the valuation gap of target companies narrows between buyer and seller, along with the expected stabilisation of interest rates. The energy and TMT sectors remain the focus for private equity funds, but investors may need to employ innovative strategies to capitalise on value in their investments with limited exit opportunities. Panellists will discuss:  

  • Domestic firms have shown their prominence in Spain raising $2.8bn in 2023 and demonstrating LPs’ commitment to Spanish asset managers. How will this trend develop in 2024 and beyond? 
  • Which factors contributed to the decline in deal value and volume in 2023? And how will investors navigate this landscape to maximise value in their investments in 2024? 
  • How can investors leverage the narrowing valuation gap to their advantage? And how can investors adapt their approach to achieve successful exit outcomes? 
  • How might the stabilisation of interest rates have significant implications for private equity transactions? How might this influence investment strategies and deal structures in the coming year?
11.30 - 12.15

Panel: Driving growth – Private equity versus infrastructure funds

As Spain looks towards fostering sustainable growth and economic resilience, the spotlight shines brightly on its infrastructure landscape. With 228 deals closed in 2023 worth $32bn, Spain has seen steady deal volumes and values since 2021’s record year, which set the highest deal value of the past 5 years of $52.7bn. The renewables sector recorded the highest value of deals with more activity expected in 2024 and high profile-deals coming to the market, such as Brookfield’s potential sale of its renewable assets portfolio held in Iberia through its Spanish renewables subsidiary, Saeta Yield. The year 2024 marks a pivotal moment for strategic decisions and innovative approaches that are helping to shape the nation’s future connectivity, sustainability and competitiveness. Panellists will discuss:  

  • How can Spain capitalise on the momentum of its renewable energy sector to further drive sustainable growth in 2024 and beyond? 
  • Which other sub sectors of infrastructure are gaining momentum? Specifically, water management and treatment, waste management, gigafactories and battery recycling. 
  • With high-profile deals like Brookfield’s potential sale of its renewable assets portfolio in Spain, what implications does this have for the Spanish renewable energy landscape? How can such transactions impact Spain’s position as a leader in renewable energy investment and innovation? 
  • What are the challenges and opportunities might present themselves to dealmakers as Spain navigates its transition to renewable energy and connectivity in 2024? How will this impact sectors reliant on supply chain resilience such as logistics and transportation; agriculture and food and biotechnology?
Ivan Paja
Ivan Paja CFO, Nabiax
Álvaro Sierra Torrón
Álvaro Sierra Torrón CEO, UKA Iberia
Pablo Riestra
Pablo Riestra Senior Vice President, Macquarie Capital
Raquel Perez Martinez
Raquel Perez Martinez Global Head of Investments and M&A, EDPR
12.15 - 13.00

Panel: Navigating the Spanish TMT M&A landscape

The technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector has been a hotbed of deal activity in Spain, with the Internet, software, and IT services sector ranking as the second most active in January 2024 based on number of transactions. This panel will bring together leading experts and advisors to discuss the trends, opportunities, and challenges shaping TMT M&A in the Spanish market. From high-growth software companies to telecom infrastructure plays, the panel will provide insights into sectors driving deals, regulatory considerations, valuation dynamics, and strategies for buyers and sellers to maximise value creation. Panellists will discuss the most active sector:

  • What are the key drivers and tailwinds fuelling M&A activity in the Spanish TMT sector currently? Which specific verticals or technologies are seeing the most robust deal flow? 
  • Spain's TMT sector has a mix of domestic players and international strategic/PE investors. How are cross-border dynamics impacting deal processes, valuations, and competitive tensions? 
  • What unique complexities arise in international TMT transactions? From an advisor's perspective, what are the major pitfalls or risks that TMT companies should be aware of when pursuing M&A in the Spanish market? 
  • How can buyers and sellers best navigate issues like IP/data regulations, employment matters, antitrust considerations?
Alvaro Sanz Carrasqueño
Alvaro Sanz Carrasqueño Director, Head of Spain, Ardian
13.00 - 13.30

Networking break

13.30 - 14.05

Panel: Iberian leveraged finance and private credit trends

Leveraged finance activity in Spain, particularly related to M&A and LBOs decreased significantly in 2023 due to the depressed deal activity seen in the region and a risk averse approach by banks. Banks have been cautious about financing new deals, with many reducing exposure to debt as syndication has become more challenging with investors demanding higher discounts and showing a reluctance to non-investment grade paper. However, the cautious approach of mainstream banks has created opportunities for international banks and private debt funds. Chinese banks have shown interest in buying portions of loans that would have otherwise been syndicated. Panellists will discuss: 

  • With the slowdown in M&A activity and risk-averse behaviour among banks, how can companies seeking leveraged finance adapt their strategies to secure funding for growth or acquisitions in Spain? 
  • What factors are driving tighter lending conditions? How can companies mitigate the challenges posed by these conditions? What advantages do alternative lenders offer? 
  • How can businesses leverage private credit funds? What implication does the international interest in Spanish assets have on the landscape and how might it impact competition and lending practices in the region?
14.05 - 14.30

Fireside chat: Defence and aerospace M&A – Forging Spain’s industrial base

With geopolitical tensions driving a new investment cycle in European defence, Spain is positioning itself at the forefront of consolidation in the aerospace and defence sectors. Indra has announced its ambitious 2030 plan to transform from a nationally focused player into multinational leader coordinating Spain’s role across major European programs, building scale in areas like sensors, avionics, counter-drone tech, and land systems integration. Investors and advisors alike operating in the sector in Spain are preparing for an active year. 

  • What drove Indra's strategic decision to transform into an international aerospace and defence player? What key capability gaps are they aiming to fill through M&A? 
  • The EU has long pushed for more consolidation of the fragmented European defence market. What are the biggest challenges in executing cross-border defence deals and integrations? 
  • What M&A or restructuring activity do panellists foresee in Spain's aviation sector to support this commercial/military ambition?
14.30 - 16.00

Conference close and networking lunch