Q4 Update on M&A Activity in Ireland and UK

07 November 2018

Each quarter BDO’s Mergers & Acquisitions team analyses global deal activity across a number of regions and selected sectors around the world; we offer you a satellite view of how the M&A market is evolving - and where it appears to be heading.

In BDO's final 2018 issue of Horizons, Katharine Byrne, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance, reports that reduced activity reflects the lack of confidence in the market aroind Brexit. However, despite market uncertainty, companies in the UK and Ireland are still attractive to international buyers, with the top 10 transactions coming from US and Japanese buyers. The value of these transactions also remain steady: the total value of PE deals for 2018 remained the same as 2017, despite a 25% decline in number of transactions.

Regarding specific sectors, Consumer and Leisure both remained relatively buoyant with a number of PE buy-outs, including Duke Street’s acquisition of Great Rail Journeys and Vitruvian Partner’s acquisition of Travel Counsellors Ltd. Business Services suffered a 35% decline with only 17 deals completing, which is to be expected as companies await the likely outcome of Brexit. Similarly, Industrials & Chemicals plummeted by 43%, but this was partially due to the fall-off from the unusually high levels of the sector’s M&A activity during the first half of 2018.

However, the real surprise was the 43% drop in TMT, with only 21 deals completing – the quietest quarter for this sector in over five years. High valuations has been listed as one of the primary inhibiting factors, but regulatory uncertainties and the emerging trade wars appear to be dampening the appetite for larger deals.

To read more about what is to come and what other regions are reporting, click here.