According to Business Intelligence Bureau Van Dijk, February has demonstrated a busy trading period with 130 transactions recorded for the month. Overseas acquirers were also active during this time with a recording of 42 deals.
The largest transaction of the month was the £1.1 billion acquisition of Gyroscope Therapeutics Holdings plc by Novartis AG. Gyroscope Therapeutics focuses on developing gene therapy beyond rare diseases for the treatment of ailments that affect the eye and lead to loss of vision and blindness. Novartis Pharmaceuticals President Marie-France Tschudin said: “With our own pioneering research in ocular gene therapies and our experience gained from bringing Luxturna to inherited retinal dystrophy patients outside of the US, Novartis has a well-established expertise in ocular gene therapies that will soon position us well to continue developing the promising one-time treatment. This acquisition is one more step forward in our commitment to delivering innovation in ophthalmology to treat and precent blindness worldwide.”
Another significant deal recorded was the £390 million acquisition of Embark Group Ltd by Lloyds Banking Group plc. Antonio Lorenzo, head of the Wealth and International division and Group Corporate Development for Lloyds, commented on the deal, “Through Embark we will be able to give more control to customers when it comes to their long-term financial planning through better technology, while creating a much slicker experience for intermediaries, recognising the value of advice.”
Other high value deals for this month include the acquisition of Hanwha Systems UK Ltd by Hanwha Systems Co., Ltd for £221 million; Deis Ltd by Entain plc for £174 million; and Arena Events Group plc by Theta Bidco Ltd for £69 million.
Progressive Games Partners LLC was acquired by Galaxy Gaming Inc. for £9.2 million. Galaxy President and CEO Todd Cravens said, “This transaction positions us in several ways to control our own destiny in online gaming. First, we get direct relationships with the major online players. Second, we get full control of how our won content – and the content we get from others – is licensed to those operators.”
Some of the overseas deals that took place during this reporting period include the acquisition of Phoenix Waters Productions Ltd by Coinllectibles (HK) Ltd; Star Financial Systems by AxiCorp Financial Services Pty Ltd; Code Red Esports Ltd by Gamesquare Inc.; Romax Technology Ltd acquired by Hexagon AB; Micro Focus International plc’s Digital Safe product line by Smarsh Inc.; and Attrax Ltd by SmartRecruiters Inc.
The health and medical sectors proved to be particularly active this period with a number of deals taking place. Some of these acquisitions include John Wood Group plc’s industrial services business by Kaerfer Isoliertechnik GmbH & Co. KG; Healthspan Group Ltd by Orkla Health AS; Devitt Insurance Services Ltd by Arthur J Gallagher & Company; and Avery Healthcare Ltd by Rueben Brothers Ltd.
To conclude, M&A activity in February spans across a number of sectors, with some significant deals contributing to this month’s overall figure. The UK maintains appeal from both the UK and global buyers, with active public trade buyers and private equity investors.
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