2004 record year for M&A in UK by UK companies
The UK has seen the highest number of M&A deals conducted by UK companies
for 10 years, with a total of 694 acquisitions in 2004, according to the
latest statistics published yesterday by the Office of National Statistics
and analysed by Grant Thornton Corporate Finance.
"These statistics show that UK M&A activity continues to demonstrate
strength and resilience both in terms of deal volumes and values. The
general picture of UK M&A is a healthy one, where buyers are looking for
good investments and will pay excellent prices for strategically important
businesses. This is especially prevalent in the mid market," says David
Brooks, head of M&A at Grant Thornton Corporate Finance.
"Private Equity has been a major driver in sustaining deal activity levels
and favouring a bout of highly leveraged transactions such as the
institutional buyout of Saga. Debt levels in buy-out structures has hit a
record level as many banks have shifted their focus from being risk averse
towards generating higher cash margins through leveraged buyout financing
structures. With improving UK corporate profitability, and a relatively
stable economy, this trend looks set to continue in the foreseeable
"January has already seen one big deal announced with the proposed
acquisition of Gillette by Procter and Gamble, and this could well be a
sign for more of the same this year.