There were 76 merger or acquisition deals involving Irish-based firms during the first half of the year, with a combined value of €70.9 billion.

That puts activity in the sector at record levels, according to William Fry's Mid-Year M&A Review.

The vast majority of deals - 92% - were in the mid-market range, valuing them at between €5m and €250m.

Meanwhile 41 of the transactions involved an Irish-based firm acquiring an overseas company, with the value of such deals up €717m year-on-year to €3.5 billion.

That included Smurfit Kappa's €460m acquisition of Dutch paper and recycling business Reparenco.

However the value of the over activity is dominated by one deal - Takeda Pharmaceutical's planned €67.1 billion takeover of Dublin-headquartered Shire.