Despite the Brexit overhang, 2018 was another bumper year for the UK M&A market. According to Experian there were 7,539 deals announced in 2018, up 2.3% on the 7,369 transactions completed in 2017. This was the highest number of annual transactions ever recorded by Experian against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty.
Deal activity across the Midlands remained relatively static compared to the previous year, with 977 deals announced versus 967 in 2017. Overall, total deal value fell by 1.8% to £18.2bn but it was 35% higher than the 2016 outcome. The Midlands was the third busiest region of the UK in 2018.
Just over 15% of deals in the region were financed via private equity, making it the second most common form of funding in the region. The 150 deals funded by private equity also represented a 34% increase in the number of private equity deals compared to 2017.
Bishopsgate finished the year strongly with the sale of an undisclosed manufacturing business to a listed Indian buyer and, in the last two weeks, completed on the sale of Davies Veterinary, Europe’s leading veterinary hospital to Mars Petcare. The midnight oil is being burnt in Stamford with several deals due to complete in the next 4 to 6 weeks; however, we have several projects “on hold” ready for launch as soon as the cloud lifts over Whitehall. When that will happen is anybody’s guess.