The UK M&A industry confirmed its resilience in 2016, as, despite changes to the economy and political landscape, deal volumes within the mid-market were significantly higher than those witnessed in 2015.
Zephyr, the online company deals database, reports that 2016 saw thousands of completed acquisitions of UK target companies, with over 40 of which being classed as mega deals.
The most valuable deal completed in 2016 was the acquisition of SABMiller PLC by Anheuser-Busch InBev, formerly known as Newbelco SA/NV. Prior to its acquisition, SABMiller was a multinational brewing and beverage company headquartered in London. It was the world’s second largest brewer in terms of revenue, falling second place behind its acquirer, Anheuser-Busch InBev. The deal was finalised in October at a staggering £100.67bn.
Another mega deal from last year was the acquisition of Reading-based BG Group PLC by Royal Dutch Shell PLC. The merged group is now the world’s largest trader of liquefied natural gas. The deal generated £39.35bn.
2016 also witnessed Japanese telecoms giant, Softbank Group Corporation, acquire ARM Holdings PLC, a Cambridge-based software design company. The £24.3bn deal was completed in September.
Throughout the year, a number of notable deals involving other household names took place, including the acquisition of EE Limited by BT Group PLC. EE was acquired for the value of £12.5bn. Within the bookmaking sector, Paddy Power PLC acquired Betfair Group PLC in a £3bn deal that went on to create one of the world’s largest online gambling businesses.
Around a thousand investments by private equity firms were made during 2016, with many deals surpassing the £500m mark. Particularly notable deals were Tiger Bidco Ltd’s £362m acquisition of Park Holidays UK and Bregal Freshstream LLP’s £200m acquisition of Radley & Co Ltd.
As the first month of 2017 draws to a close, it can certainly be said that the year is off to a good start in terms of UK M&A. Almost 160 deals have been completed in January alone, many of which involving notable companies. This month saw the acquisition of UK-based Formula One related firm, Delta Topco Ltd, which generated £5.25bn, and Tesco PLC’s £3.64bn acquisition of Booker Group PLC, the UK’s largest food wholesale operator.