Mergers and Acquisitions in December 2020

Business intelligence, Bureau Van Dijk, recorded 94 deals during the last month of 2020 which also included 31 overseas acquirers. The statistics highlight December to be another busy month, concluding the year on a high note.

The largest transaction of December was the £2 billion acquisition of Arqiva Services Ltd by Cellnex UK Ltd. Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Arqiva said, “This agreement provides both stability and a focus for our future as we concentrate on the provision of broadcast infrastructure, end-to-end networks and connectivity solutions for our TV and radio customers, international content owners, data network providers and utilities. The majority of our proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, thereby providing a solid financial base for Arqiva and its shareholders to invest in the future of the UK’s terrestrial TV and radio platforms as well as its data networks and capability. The deal will see a number of colleagues transfer to Cellnex, which I am confident will be an excellent owner for the business. I am sure that it will go from strength to strength under their stewardship.”

Another significant deal recorded was the £1.7 billion acquisition of prime shopping centre, the Trafford Centre in Manchester, UK by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments). Geoff Souter, Managing Director, Head of Real Assets Credit, CPPIB Credit commented, “The Trafford Centre is one of the UK’s top five shopping centres, welcoming more than 30 million shoppers annually, and counts many leading global retailers among its occupiers. While conditions for retail in 2020 have been very challenging, we are able to take a long-term view and believe that, with strategic management and investment, the Trafford Centre has strong prospects. An immediate priority is to support the Trafford Centre’s management, ensuring continued optimal operation of the Trafford Centre, and to appoint a long-term operating partner.”

Other remarkable deals for December include the acquisition of Multifuel Energy Ltd by European Diversified Infrastructure Fund III SCSP for £995 million; Hermes Germany GmbH by Advent International Corporation for £903 million; Horizon Discovery Group plc by PerkinElmer (UK) Holdings Ltd for £284 million; Hutch Games Ltd by Modern Times Group MTG AB for £276 million; Maple TopCo Ltd by Equitix Investment Management for £272 million; Pepper Ireland Finance Holdings Ltd by  Link Group Administration Ltd for £180 million; Chailease International Company (UK) Ltd by Chailease International Company (Malaysia) Ltd for £146 million; and Exclaimer Ltd by Insight Venture Management LLC for £100 million.

Some of the overseas deals that took place during this reporting period include the acquisition of AVC (Stairbox) Ltd by Grafton Group plc for £44 million; Vernalis (R&D) Ltd by HitGen Inc. for £18 million; Neptune Midco 1 Ltd by AqualisBraemar ASA for £13 million; Optima Energy Management Holdings Ltd by Bill Identify Ltd for £6 million; Squirrel Learning Ltd by Boomwriter Media Inc.; RenaissanceRE (UK) Ltd by Axa Liabilities Management SAS; Elemental Resource Management Ltd by Elemental Holding SA; and Monecor (London) Ltd by Guru Capital SA.

The manufacturing sector was particularly active this month with a number of deals taking place. Aluminium Materials Technologies Ltd was acquired by Altana AG; Go-Pak UK Ltd was acquired by SCG Packaging PCL; and Titan Elevators Ltd was acquired by Cibes Lift Group AB.

In summary, December’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 trade buyers as well as private equity investors, the UK continues to appeal to acquirers from both the UK and overseas. 

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