Neymar has had a pretty sweet start to the weekend. The 25-year-old Brazilian soccer star transferred from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain for a record-breaking €222 million ($263 million) fee.
Over the past decade, the record transfer fee has increased incrementally, usually by 5 or 10% every few years. In 2009, Real Madrid acquired Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for around $100 million, which was surpassed in 2013, when Madrid bought Gareth Bale from Tottenham for $110 million. Manchester United set a new record last summer when it acquired Paul Pogba from Juventus for $123 million. Neymar’s purchase this week more than doubled that record. For good measure, Neymar will also take home an annual salary of €30 million a year after tax—almost doubling the player’s salary in Spain.
Neymar’s record-breaking transfer fee has been described as “unprecedented,” “unthinkable,” and, simply, “crazy.” Indeed, the Neymar deal would rank pretty high in the list of corporate M&A deals in Europe so far this year. That is, the Brazilian striker is worth the same as multinational companies that employ thousands of workers and generate hundreds of millions in annual revenues. Neymar scored 13 goals in 30 appearances for Barcelona during its domestic league season last year.
Consider IT services firm Getronics. Last month, the Dutch group was acuired by an investment consortium for €220 million. Getronics employees 4,500 people, operates in 20 countries, and generates annual turnover of around €500 million. Around the same time as Getronics’s acquisition, Snap bought Zenly, a social mapping app, for a few million less than Neymar.
Other European acquisitions this year of a similar size, according to Dealogic, feature travel companies, property portfolios, and cargo ship fleets.