Concerns Over Impact of New EU Reporting Rules on M&A Activity

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
July 9th, 2024
5:26 PM

The European Union’s forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is poised to reshape the landscape of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the continent. This landmark legislation, mandating comprehensive ESG disclosures, has raised significant concerns within the business community about its potential impact on M&A activity. CSRD's Expansive Scope

The CSRD, set to take effect from January 2025, expands the scope of sustainability reporting to cover a broader range of companies, including large listed and non-listed firms and their subsidiaries. This directive requires entities to provide detailed insights into their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, effectively integrating sustainability into their financial reporting.

Increased Transparency, Increased Scrutiny

While the CSRD aims to enhance corporate transparency and accountability, industry experts warn that the increased reporting requirements could lead to heightened scrutiny during M&A transactions. Potential acquirers may face additional due diligence challenges as they assess the ESG credentials of target companies, potentially complicating deal-making processes and timelines.

Impact on Deal Valuations

The directive’s stringent reporting standards are expected to influence deal valuations significantly. Companies with robust ESG practices might command premium valuations, whereas those lagging in sustainability could see their attractiveness diminish. As a result, firms may need to bolster their ESG credentials proactively to maintain competitiveness in the M&A market.

Regulatory Compliance Burdens

The CSRD also introduces a considerable compliance burden, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Many SMEs, previously exempt from extensive ESG reporting, will now need to invest in new systems and processes to meet the directive’s requirements. This shift could strain resources and divert attention from core business activities, potentially impacting their growth prospects.

Opportunities for ESG-Driven M&A

Despite the challenges, the CSRD may also create opportunities for ESG-driven M&A activity. Companies with strong sustainability practices could leverage their ESG performance to attract investment and drive strategic acquisitions. Moreover, the directive may incentivize firms to pursue M&A opportunities to acquire sustainability expertise and capabilities, thereby enhancing their ESG profiles.

Navigating the New Landscape

As the implementation date approaches, businesses must prepare to navigate the evolving M&A landscape shaped by the CSRD. Companies are advised to conduct thorough ESG assessments, enhance their sustainability reporting frameworks, and engage with stakeholders to address potential concerns. Advisory firms and legal experts also play a critical role in supporting companies through this transition. By providing strategic guidance on compliance and identifying potential risks and opportunities, these advisors can help firms successfully manage the complexities introduced by the CSRD.


The EU’s CSRD represents a significant shift in corporate reporting requirements, with far-reaching implications for M&A activity. While the directive aims to promote greater transparency and sustainability, it also introduces new challenges and opportunities for businesses. As companies adapt to this regulatory landscape, those that can effectively integrate ESG considerations into their operations and strategy will be better positioned to thrive in the evolving market environment.