The most acquisitive companies of 2017 so far

Global M&A activity has remained high in 2017, with deal volumes being largely driven by international organisations that have acquired multiple companies. This trend has been prevalent across a number of industry sectors, and in this article, we will take a deeper look at three of the most active buyers of UK companies in 2017.


Accenture plc

Accenture plc has acquired 21 companies globally this year so far, with two of the overall total being located in the UK. Making acquisitions in industries ranging from business intelligence and research, to e-commerce, software and data, Accenture aims to purchase companies with potential for growth and integration within its wider portfolio of acquisitions.


In March, Accenture acquired Focus Group Europe, a London-based ServiceNow and software consultancy. The acquisition enabled Accenture to solidify its position as a leader in the ServiceNow partner ecosystem, adding to the group’s strong technological capabilities and experience.


Less than two weeks later, Accenture acquired another UK company; the Wales-based automation service provider, Genfour. Accenture’s acquisition of Genfour allowed the group to strengthen its status as a leading provider of intelligent automation solutions, helping clients transform and re-engineer their business processes.


According to company deals database, Zephyr, Accenture is rumoured to be completing four more acquisitions in the coming months, involving companies from all over the globe.


Indutrade AB

Indutrade AB is an international industrial group that sells high-tech products and solutions in order to help clients improve their own products and streamline production processes. So far in 2017, Indutrade has acquired six companies, and out of these, two were based in the UK.


Sunflower Medical Limited was acquired by Indutrade in January of this year. Posting annual sales of £4.5m, Sunflower Medical is a leading UK manufacturer of healthcare equipment, producing products such as medicine dispense cabinets and speciality equipment. The acquisition allowed Indutrade to expand into the medical equipment sector and benefit from a positive impact on its earnings per share.


A month or so later, Indutrade acquired Ellard Limited, a specialist manufacturer of drives, motors and controls for industrial, commercial and residential doors and shutters. Similar to Indutrade’s acquisition of Sunflower Medical, its acquisition of Ellard allowed the company to reap the benefits of a positive impact on its earnings per share, and cement its position as a leader in the industrial manufacturing sector.


Iliffe Media Limited

According to Zephyr, Iliffe Media Limited, the Cambridge-based independent publisher, has acquired three UK companies so far this year to add to its ever expanding portfolio. Iliffe has been described as one of the most acquisitive UK companies in the media and publishing sector.


Iliffe purchased 13 titles from Johnston Press in East Anglia and the East Midlands in early 2017, for a final sale value of £17m. According to PressGazette, the family-owned publisher says the titles are a “natural extension” and a “good geographical fit” for its Cambridge Independent newspaper, launched in September.


Iliffe then went to on to acquire Velvet Magazine, and its publications, Velvet Magazine (a monthly consumer lifestyle magazine for Suffolk and Cambridgeshire) and IQ Magazine (a quarterly business magazine offering expert insight, intelligence and trends for the owners of SMEs in Suffolk and Cambridgshire).


In April, Iliffe acquired KM Media Group, an independent, Kent-based publisher of nine paid-for and four free newspapers. The Group also publishes Kent’s main newspaper, and operates its main local radio network, reaching 2.4m monthly browsers and 164,000 weekly listeners respectively.


With many key acquirers dominating the M&A market at present, significant deal volumes with high values are expected to continue throughout the year and well into 2018. If you are interested in learning more about the value of your company, and what it might achieve in today’s M&A market, fill out our free valuation calculator today.