PE Tech Report


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Bolt-on transactions more than double pre-pandemic levels, says Rickitt Mitchell

The number and value of acquisitions made by private equity-backed businesses across the UK in 2021 significantly exceeded levels seen in 2019 and 2020, according to Rickitt Mitchell’s Buy and Build Barometer.

The latest analysis from the corporate finance firm, conducted in partnership with Experian Market iQ, reveals 578 deals were completed across the UK in 2021, up more than 56 per cent on 2020 (370) and more than double that of 2019 (276).
The South East (58) saw the highest number of acquisitions out of any region, followed jointly by East of England and London (47). Elsewhere, Yorkshire (37) was the highest performing Northern region, ahead of North West (24) and North East (14). The UK’s devolved regions were amongst the least active, with Wales (16) ahead of both Scotland (14) and Northern Ireland (5).
Made up from a range of organisations operating in medical technology to life sciences, ‘professional, scientific and technical activities’ was the most active sector for deal volumes (227 deals). Independent Vetcare’s (IVC) acquisition spree of more than 120 businesses, primarily veterinary practices, made up the bulk of this figure. Elsewhere, information and communication (142) and manufacturing (73) were the second and third most active sectors.
Manufacturing was the highest value sector (GBP1.3 billion) with financial and insurance activities (GBP1.12 billion) closely behind.
Standout transactions completed across the year include NEO Energy’s GBP958m acquisition of ExxonMobil’s assets in the central and northern North Sea; Henderson Park Capital’s GBP555m acquisition of 12 Doubletree by Hilton Hotels; and UK carpet maker Victoria’s GBP165 million purchase of Balta’s UK portfolio.

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