Mergers and Acquisitions in October 2020

October proved to be another busy month of M&A activity as business intelligence experts, Bureau Van Dijk, recorded an impressive 125 deals during this period, of which 44 were overseas acquirers.

The largest transaction for October was the £5.2 billion acquisition of CPA Global Ltd by Clarivate plc. Clarivate is an international leader in providing solutions for the acceleration of innovation by providing actionable information and insights that reduces the time from new ideas to inventions. CPA Global makes it possible for IP to move the speed of these ideas as they are a global leader in Intellectual Property software and tech-enabled services. Simon Webster, formerly CEO of CPA Global and now Executive Advisor to the CEO at Clarivate, said, “We are thrilled to join forces with Clarivate to create a global IP leader. Together, we have the strength, scale and breadth to meet the rapidly-evolving needs of our customers – whether that’s helping them to operate more efficiently and with less risk, or by delivering the insights and information that empower them to execute their IP strategies. In the current challenging world we live in, the need for a strong, global end-to-end IP partner has never been greater”.

Another noteworthy deal recorded this month was for the acquisition of Imperial Brands plc’s Premium cigar RoW Division by Allied Cigar Corporation SL for £940 million. Joint Interim Chief Executives Dominic Brisby and Joerg Biebernick said, “We are delighted to be able to announce the sale of Premium Cigars in the current challenging global environment. It has been a complex transaction involving joint venture partners and assets across multiple geographies and we would like to thank everyone involved for working so hard to get the deal agreed. This disposal reinforces our strategic ambition of becoming a leaner and more agile organisation and the proceeds will realise value for shareholders by reducing debt as part of our ongoing focus on active capital management”.

Some of the overseas deals that took place during this reporting period include the acquisition of Bombardier Aerospace North Africa SAS by Spirit AeroSystems Global Holdings Ltd for £928 million; Prologis Inc.’s logistics real estate asset portfolio in the UK by The Blackstone Group Inc. for £473 million; Base Genomics Ltd by Exact Sciences Corporation for £314 million; and Armitage Pet Care Ltd by Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. for £140 million.

Other overseas transactions that took place in October include the acquisitions of: Coatsink Software Ltd by Thunderful Group AB; Delta Financial Systems Ltd by Bravura Solutions Ltd; Centurion Management Systems Ltd by Elmo Software Ltd; Britvic plc’s private label juice business by Refresco France SAS; IT-IS International Ltd by Novacyt SA; and BloomboxClub Ltd by Vegaste Technologies Corporation.

Architas Multi-Manager Ltd was acquired by Liontrust Asset Management plc for a total value of £75 million. This acquisition increases Liontrust’s assets under management and advice to £26.8 billion from £21.1 billion. John Ions, Chief Executive of Liontrust, said, “This is an important strategic acquisition for Liontrust. Completing the purchase expands our distribution among financial advisers through the scales of the combined multi-asset businesses, the strength of the merged investment team, the broad range of the multi-asset multi-manager portfolios and funds and enhanced client service. Given our investment, sales, and marketing capability, I have great confidence that we will grow the multi-asset portfolios and funds of the next few years.”

The software sector was particularly active this month with a number of deals taking place. Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd was acquired by Smartbox Holdings Ltd; Maximum Media Network Ltd was acquired by Greencastle Capital Ltd; Everguild Ltd was acquired by Stillfront Group AB; Saverd Ltd was acquired by BGL Group Ltd; Mitrefinch Ltd was acquired by Advanced Computer Software Group Ltd; and Lumesse (UK) Ltd was acquired by Saba Software Inc.

In summary, October’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 the UK and overseas. 

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