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Increased interest in UK businesses by foreign investors, says latest Experian report

The total value of UK mergers, acquisitions, flotations, rights issues and placements was GBP141bn during the first six months of 2012 – an increase of 29 per cent on the total disclosed value during the same period in 2011, according to Experian.

This was led primarily by an increase in transactions worth GBP1bn or more.

During the first half of 2012, 24 large deals were announced worth GBP92.3bn in total involving some of the UK’s largest companies. Sixteen of these were proposed acquisitions of UK companies by overseas firms.
During the same period last year, there were 18 such deals announced worth GBP51.3bn. Eight of these involved the proposed acquisition of a UK company by a foreign investor.
Meanwhile, the total volume of deals announced across the UK as a whole during the first half of 2012 fell by just over 10 per cent – from 2,339 transactions in the first half of 2011 to 2,084 so far this year.
The only areas in the UK to see the number of transactions rise year-on-year were the South West (where deal volumes rose by 17 per cent), Northern Ireland (up 12 per cent) and Scotland (up three per cent).
The UK mid-market (transactions worth between GBP10m and GBP100m) and small segments (transactions worth between GBP0.5m and GBP10m) saw declines in both volume and value in HY1 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. The mid-market was down by around 20 per cent in volume and value, with small deals down by just over 12 per cent for both.
Around 47 per cent of all European transactions included a UK element – either acquiring, merging with or being bought by a UK based company – up from 43 per cent in HY 2011. In terms of value, deals involving UK companies contributed almost 35 per cent of the European total for HY 2012.
Wendy Driver, business development manager at Experian UK & Ireland, says: “The number of multi-billion pound deals involving top-level corporate UK businesses that have taken place recently highlights an increased interest in the UK market and reflects the quality of UK businesses. The recent acquisition of Weetabix by Chinese giant Bright Food is just one notable example of this trend.
“Focusing on the volume of deals across the UK, while it has lessened slightly, this has mirrored a worldwide trend.”

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