Mergers and Acquisitions in August 2020

Despite the recent global matters that has no doubt left an adverse impact on the local economy, the mergers and acquisitions market still proved to be resilient as business intelligence, Bureau Van Dijk, recorded and impressive 123 deals in August, of which 18 included overseas acquirers.

The largest transaction of the month was for an impressive value of £484 million in the Neo E&P Ltd’s acquisition of Total S.A. Total is an extensive energy company that produces and markets fuels, natural gases and low-carbon electricity. Active in more than 130 countries, the company’s ambition is to become the responsible energy major. Jean-Pierre Sbraire, Chief Financial Officer of Total commented on the deal and said, “As announced on May 20, we have worked closely with HitecVision and its portfolio company NEO Energy to conclude this sale. This sale of assets contributes to the action plan currently being implemented to address the economic crisis by focussing on cash delivery and demonstrates our ability to relentlessly lower the breakeven of our portfolio.”

Another notable deal recorded this month was for the acquisition of MAG Investments Assets Ltd by Columbia Threadneedle Investments for of £340 million. MAG Investment Assets focusses on the company’s investment properties compromising of assets including offices, hotels, warehouses and hangars. Their goal is to maximise value and efficiencies from the MAG’s properties which independent operationally of the airports. Commenting on the asset sale, MAG Chief Executive Charlie Cornish said, “Realising value from our non-core, property portfolio to invest our core growth areas has been a key component of our strategy for a number of years.” The chief also noted that the sale process was initiated prior to the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

There were a number of overseas transactions that took place this month which included the acquisition of Evergreen Marine (UK) Ltd by its own shareholders for £76 million; SalvaRx Ltd by Portage Biotech Inc for £51 million; Liberatis Ltd by DIF Core Infrastructure Fund II SCSP for £25 million; Intouch with Health Ltd by VitalHub Corporation for £4 million; and Eldercare (UK) Ltd by Doro AB for £2 million.

Other overseas deal this month include the acquisitions of: WH Ireland (IOM) Ltd by Ravenscroft Holdings Ltd; CB Financial Services Ltd by AxiCorp Financial Services Pty Ltd; Rochford Garden Machinery Ltd by AL-KO Gerate GmbH, 36 Poundworld Retail Ltd Stores by Henderson Family; Drayton Manor Park Ltd’s business by Looping Holding SAS; and Housing Partners Ltd by MRI Software LLC.

Cello Health plc was acquired by Pharma Value Demonstration Bidco Ltd for the value over £181 million. Pharma Value Demonstration Bidco is a company owned by Value Demonstration which is backed by Arsenal Capital. Mark Scott, Chief Executive of Cello Health said, “We have a shared belief with Arsenal that clients need a partner that combines industry expertise, commercial experience, scientific depth, and cutting-edge technology and data. We’re confident that we can accelerate growth by expanding support for our clients, investing in innovation, and continuing our ambition to become a world-class, truly global company.”

The insurance sector was especially active this month. Berkerley Burke (Financial Services) Ltd was acquired by STM Group plc; Portcullis Financial Planning Ltd was acquired by R C Brown Investment Management plc; Private Health Care Managers Ltd was acquired by Aston Lark; Rigton Insurance Services was acquired by PIB Group Ltd; Chiltern House Ltd was acquired by Fairstone Group Ltd; CJN Insurance Services Ltd was acquired by Country Insurance Consultants Ltd; and Sennet Insurance Services Ltd was acquired by Bennett Christmas Group Ltd.

In summary, August’s M&A activity has taken place in a number of different sectors, with significant deals contributing to this month’s overall figure. With active public trader buyers as well as private equity investors, the UK continues to appeal to acquirers from both thae UK and overseas. 

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