No wonder Germany is so concerned about a Grexit—over the past 10 years companies from Europe’s growth engine have spent far more than those from any other country doing deals in Greece, as the below data from Dealogic shows:
The next three biggest dealmakers in Greece—Italy, France, and Cyprus—are historical trading partners. Despite earlier talk of a cash-rich China swooping in to take advantage of increasingly cash-strapped Greek businesses, there is little sign of this happening at a company level.
The telecom industry has been the clear favorite for foreign companies acquiring or merging their way into Greece:
One of the biggest deals was the 10% sale of the state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, which Deutsche Telekom acquired in 2011 for $585 million. That was part of Greece’s €50 billion ($55 billion) privatization plan aimed at reducing its €330 billion debt.
But the rate of cash flowing into the Greek economy dried up as the financial crisis steepened, and shows little sign of recovering. So far this year, mergers and acquisitions have amounted to just $10 million, a fraction of last year’s $4 billion: