New ONS M&A report shows increase international deals in the UK hit record levels

Livingstone has just released its 2014-2016 Global M&A deals Tracker (attached) which breaks down the volume of international M&A deals. Stats include the following;

  • Chinese acquisitions of UK companies increased by 215% in the period 2014-2016, although they account for only one in 20 international acquisitions in the UK marketplace;
  • US investors remain the largest source of international investment in UK businesses, with total inbound acquisitions increasing 5% from 2014 to 2016.
  • Inbound UK M&A accounted for nearly 44% of the UK’s total 2016 deal activity;
  • Inbound UK M&A surged by nearly 15%, with a significant spike in Q4 2016 jumping from 514 deals in 2015 to 588 in 2016;
  • A large proportion of this rise in investment came from Chinese buyers, with deals up by 215% (2014-2016) into the UK;
  • Buyers from the Americas remained the largest source of international investment in UK businesses, whilst European deals increased by nearly a fifth (18%), from 185 to 208, accounting for more than 35% of all inbound deals recorded;
  • The UK’s business services sector, which grew at a rate of nearly 40%, reflecting the UK’s strong service-led economy.
  • The UK’s media & technology sector grew by 25% year-on-year, and accounting for nearly a quarter of all inbound M&A deals, up from 20% in 2015.

Commenting on the findings, Jeremy Furniss, London-based Partner at Livingstone, said:

“While 2016 was a year of significant political change, particularly given the US election result and the Brexit vote, it was a strong year for M&A. The rapid increase in acquisitions by Chinese investors has attracted attention across the world, and is set to continue.

“Our findings highlight that M&A activity into the UK has grown at a record pace as investors from Europe, the Americas and Asia take advantage of the cheaper pound to acquire successful companies in a strong economy.

“The current interest rate environment remains at historically low levels, which in turn creates continued appetite for acquisitions that have the potential to generate solid returns – and we see no reason for this to change in 2017. This landscape, coupled with the UK’s strong tech scene driving innovation and reacting to disruptive technologies, will continue to encourage further foreign interest in UK businesses this year.”

View the Mergers and Acquisitions involving UK companies results