After a significantly active 2016, the 2017 M&A market has gotten off to a positive start. The first quarter alone has witnessed 479 deals involving UK target companies, generating total disclosed values of £24.6bn, according to company deals database, Zephyr.
The most valuable deal completed during this time was The Quad Gas Group’s acquisition of a 61% shareholding in National Grid’s four regulated gas distribution networks. National Grid, the international supplier of electricity and gas, based predominantly in the UK and north-eastern US, was acquired for a final value of £8.41bn, according to Zephyr. The Quad Gas Group is a consortium of long-term infrastructure investors, made up of a mixture of UK and international institutional investors.
Another notable deal finalised during the first quarter of 2017 involved the acquisition of Delta Topco Limited, the holding company of the Formula One Group. The transaction saw American mass media company, Liberty Media Corporation, acquire 100% of the shares for a value of £5.25bn. Through the deal, Liberty Media Corporation acquired the Commercial Rights of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
MasterCard’s acquisition of VocaLink, the electronic banking service, was another deal that hit headlines during the first few months of the year. Acquiring 92.4% of VocaLink’s shares for a value of £869m, the deal saw MasterCard accelerating its efforts to be an active participant in all types of electronic payments to enhance its services for the benefits of customers and partners.
As the second quarter of the year begins, activity in the UK M&A market remains robust, with 28 deals completed to date. The most notable deal during this time has been the acquisition of UK-based internet service firm, Host Europe Group (HEG) by GoDaddy Inc., the American internet domain registrar and web hosting company. With many more rumoured mega deals in the pipeline, the M&A industry during the remainder of 2017 is certainly set to be exciting.