Winners M&A Awards 2019 

For the M&A Awards Belgium 2019, the organization received thirty-four extensive pitches from M&A professionals from all over Belgium. The panel of judges nominated thirteen finalists in five award categories, view all the nominees here or

All thirteen finalists have been thoroughly evaluated by the panel of judges. The judges determined the five Award winners by scoring each deal on the key aspects rationality, entrepreneurship, complexity, vision, timing, process and the impact on the company itself, the direct stakeholders and society.

The winners of the M&A Awards 2019 were announced during the M&A Awards Gala on 28 November in Hôtel de la Poste in Brussels.

Best M&A Award Large-Cap Corporate Deal 2019

Gilead and Galapagos enter into transformative research and development collaboration

Comments Panel of judges

The Panel of Judges nominated the cooperation agreement between Galapagos and Gilead because of its innovative character and the clear strategic rationale for both parties. Galapagos remains financially and organizationally independent with this deal, because Gilead recognizes the added value of the current management. In this way Galapagos retains all production licenses in Europe. On the other hand, for an attractive price, Gilead is acquiring a greater stake in Galapagos; licenses for distribution outside of Europe and a pre-ownership right on new medicines. The jury sees the agreement as an elegant non-attack treaty where there are clearly two winners. In addition, the Panel of Judges praises the innovative fundings methods applied to this deal.

Best M&A Award Mid-Cap Deal 2019

Kinepolis Group acquired US Movie theatre chain MJR Digital Cinemas

Comments Panel of Judges

To do an overseas acquisition in times when the cinema industry is experiencing strong competition from parties such as Netflix is a courageous decision. In 2017 Kinepolis acquired a company in Canada. The position acquired there was used as a springboard to the United States. Although acquisitions across the ocean are always exciting, the Panel of Judges believes that the “Ink Spot strategy” can be successful. The cooperation with the Canadian team shows that is was a well-considered acquisition. Relatively speaking, it is an impressive acquisition, because Kinepolis EBITDA increases by more than 10 percent. The Panel of Judges also sees a good match in the philosophy that Kinepolis and MJR share. Both parties go beyond traditional cinema visits and offer an “experience”.

Best M&A Award PE Growth Capital Deal 2019

HG Capital acquires the Combell Group

Comments Panel of Judges

In recent years, Combell has created a leading position in the Danish and Belgian markets through dozens of acquisitions. The Panel of Judges is impressed by the way in which this buy-and-build strategy has been shaped. After a strong local position had been acquired under the founder, Waterland took the step across the border. Under HgCapital, the pace of the buy-and-build machine is further increased, while founder Jonas Dhaenens is still involved in the company. The Panel of Judges is impressed by the timing and thoroughness of all the acquisitions. For example, there seems to have never been too much paid for an acquisition. Combell is a prototype of a situation where entrepreneurship and private equity reinforce each other.

Best M&A Award Venture Capital Deal 2019 – Life Sciences

Confo Therapeutics raises €30 million in Series A Investment Round

Comments Panel of Judges

Although Confo Therapeutics was able to raise money earlier, the Panel of Judges was impressed by the size of this investment and the quality of the investors. The investment not only gives Confo the opportunity to fund its ongoing R&D, but also gives it the opportunity to develop as a platform.

Best M&A Award Venture Capital Deal 2019– IC-Technology

CapitalG leads €110 million funding round in Collibra

Comments Panel of Judges

The jury emphasizes that Collibra is currently the only Belgian unicorn. It is therefore not entirely surprising that the company manages to get 110 million out of the market. That the investment branch of Google has led this investment round is not only a quality stamp in itself, it is also the largest investment by Google in the Benelux. With the money invested, Collibra can not only expand its product portfolio, but also benefit from the knowledge that Google / Alphabet has in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence.