Mergers and Acquisitions in March 2021

According to business intelligence Bureau Van Dijk, March highlights a boost to M&A activity with 235 transactions recorded for the month, highlighting an impressive 75% increase from February. Of these deals, 88 were overseas acquirers, which is also a significant increase of 79% from the previous month.

The largest transaction of the month was the £6.5 billion acquisition of PI Jersey Holdco 1.5 Ltd by Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corporation II. The acquiror are a newly formed company with a business purpose of merger and acquisition in several industries. Their initial focus is on financial technology and business process outsourcing which are core to the economy. The company also target businesses that have unseen potential for revenue growth, defensible intellectual property and strong market positions within their industries.

Another significant deal recorded was the £2.8 billion acquisition of AA plc by Basing Bidco Ltd, which is a newly incorporated entity owned by the TowerBrook-Warburg Pincus consortium. The consortium recognises that the strengths of The AA lie in its iconic brand, market-leading positions, and skilled and committed workforce. However, the acquirers also believe that The AA has been held back as a result of underinvestment and now intends to inject additional funds into The AA to deleverage the business. This will provide the target company with the operational freedom to drive the business forward, to better serve its customers and capitalise on its considerable strengths.

Other higher value deals for this month include the acquisition of Nielson Holdings plc’s Global Connect Business by Indy US Bidco LLC for £1.9 billion; Calisen plc by Coyote Bidco Ltd for £1.4 billion; PA Consulting Group Ltd by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. for £1.1 billion; TalkTalk Telecom Group plc by Tosca IOM Ltd for £1.1 billion; CDK Global Holdings (UK) Ltd by Concorde Bidco Ltd for £1 billion; Genius Sports Group Ltd by Galileo NewCo Ltd for £1 billion; RiverStone Europe LLP by CVC Strategic Opportunities II for £717 million; Mastsystem Int’l Oy by TransDigm Group Inc for £702 million; Oxford Immunotec Global plc by PerkinElmer (UK) Holdings Ltd for £427 million; Investis Digital Ltd by Management for £300 million; and Infrared Capital Partners Ltd’s last mile logistics assets in the UK by The Blackstone Group Inc for £250 million.

Medallia Inc., the global leader in customer and employee experience and engagement, has acquired Decibel Insight Ltd, a leader in digital experience analytics for £116 million. With this acquisition, Medallia’s leasing customer experience platform will seamlessly include always-on, unsolicited digital feedback, providing a single view of all customers and prospective customers and at every point of their journey across all channels. Ben Harris, CEO and Co-Founder of Decibel, commented, “Following a strong partnership, Medallia’s approach to us came as a welcome surprise. It is our mission to rid the world of digital frustration and create effortless experiences. Our unparalleled AI automatically identifies and prioritises experience issues, and their scale, showing brands what actions are needed to grow digital revenue. Medallia’s growth mentality and culture fits hand in glove with ours, which means we can now move at an even faster pace to help companies deliver the experiences customers expect and demand.”

Some of the overseas deals that took place during this reporting period include the acquisition of C&J Clark Ltd by LionRock Capital Ltd for £100 million; Glenigan Ltd by Byggfakta Group HQ AB for £72 million; Acro holdings Ltd by Shanghai Tiancheng Aviation Seat Co., Ltd for £53 million; Oxford Genetics Ltd by WuXi AppTec co., Ltd for £30 million; Linwave Technology Ltd by Alaris Investment Holdings UK Ltd for £23 million; Vertemax Ltd by Haki AB for £22 million; and StarStone Underwriting Ltd by Inigo Ltd for £21 million.

The manufacturing sector seem to be particularly active this month with numerous deals taking place. Among these acquisitions include Dando Drilling International Ltd by a UK-based Company; W&J Knox Ltd by Selstad AS; Lite IP Ltd by Galmox AS; Initial Packaging Solutions Ltd by Coveris Management GmbH; and Black & Veatch Ltd by RSK Group Ltd.

In summary, March’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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