Throughout 2017, UK companies have proven to be highly attractive to buyers from across the globe, and as a result, UK M&A activity has surpassed all original expectations forecasted earlier in the year by industry professionals.
Acquisition volumes remained high throughout the month of October, with 189 transactions involving UK target companies completed, according to Zephyr. The deals completed during October delivered aggregate deal values of over £7.5bn to UK shareholders.
A deal involving Amec Foster Wheeler plc and John Wood Group plc generated the most valuable consideration during October, with Amec Foster Wheeler being acquired for a staggering £3.2bn. The company is a London-headquartered consultancy, offering engineering and project management services to clients globally.
As a multinational energy services company, Wood Group was an ideal fit for Amec Foster Wheeler, and according to Robin Watson, Wood Group’s CEO, “This transformational acquisition creates a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to the energy and industrial markets.”
Another particularly notable deal witnessed during October involved Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate plc (KWE), a UK-based listed property company that invested in real estate across the UK, Ireland, Spain and Italy. The deal saw the company merge with its eponymous investment manager, US-based Kennedy Wilson Holdings Inc (KW), for a value of circa £2bn. KW’s shareholding in KWE increased from 23.6% to 100%, creating an $8bn global real estate company.
According to William J. McMorrow, Chairman and CEO of KW, “This transformative combination with KWE represents an exciting new chapter for our company. We are well positioned for future growth and to continue our track record of generating attractive risk-adjusted returns on our invested capital.”
Other noteworthy deals included IP Group plc’s acquisition of Touchstone Innovations plc, one of the UK’s leading technology commercialisation companies, and Axis Speciality UK Holdings Ltd’s acquisition of Novae Group plc, a London-headquartered insurance underwriting company.
Zephyr reports that there are over 200 other deals involving UK companies rumoured to be in the pipeline. With this in mind, the remainder of the year and the first few months of 2018 are forecasted to be particularly active amidst the UK M&A market, making now an excellent time to progress with a sale.
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