New figures show that the number of merger and acquisition deals in the third quarter of the year fell by 29% to 67 from record levels in the second quarter.

The decline was in line with European and global M&A trends.

The Investec M&A Tracker for the third quarter also shows that the value of transactions rose to €4.3 billion despite the fall in the number of deals. 

Today's tracker shows that the IT & Telecoms sector saw the most activity in the three month period, accounting for 28.4% of total deal volume with 19 deals. 

The Health and Pharmaceutical sector was next, accounting for 13.4% of total deal volume with nine deals, followed by the Financial Services sector and the Retail, Food/Food Services sector with seven transactions each.

Investec said that the Building, Construction & Property sector saw the largest value in recorded transactions, accounting for 38.3% of the total at €1.66 billion.

It also noted that two transactions accounted for about 75% of deal value for the third quarter.

CRH's sale of its European distribution business to Blackstone was valued at €1.64 billion, while Henderson Park's deal to take Green REIT private was valued at €1.55 billion. 

Other notable M&A deals during the third quarter included Avenue Capital's acquisition of a 25% stake in alternative lender Castlehaven Finance and the acquisition of 23 Connecticut highway service plazas by a consortium led by Applegreen.

Noting that the volume of M&A transactions in the Irish market reached a new high water mark in the second quarter of 2019, Investec Corporate Finance said that maintaining that level was always going to be a challenge.

It said this was particularly so against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty domestically and overall reduction in deal activity across Europe and elsewhere throughout the world. 

It said the outlook overall for 2019 is for a steady increase on deal volume when compared with the previous year with a total of 223 transactions recorded in the first three months of this year compared to 188 transactions over the same period in 2018.

A similar level of activity in the fourth quarter will round off a good year for Irish M&A, Investec added.