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PE firms up acquisitions of UK companies

Private equity firms have significantly increased their buyouts of British companies, with 95 deals worth a cumulative £13.8bn in the first half of 2024, according to a report by the Times citing industry research.

Figures compiled by the Centre for Private Equity and Management Buyout Research at Nottingham University Business School show that across Europe, there were a total of 327 deals valued at €49.6bn, including 11 “mega deals” each worth more than €1bn.

The research indicates that with over £34bn in additional buyout activity set to be completed across Europe soon, the industry is poised to surpass the £85bn mark this year – a level was last reached in the six years leading up to 2022, before a slowdown in dealmaking last year due to rising interest rates.

In Britain, notable buyouts over the past six months include Marlowe founder Alex Dacre’s acquisition of the listed software firm’s risk and compliance division in February, in a £430m deal backed by private equity firm Inflexion. Later this year, logistics company Evri may also change hands, with its current owner, Advent International, looking to sell it for about £2bn. Additionally, American buyout firm Thoma Bravo expects to complete its £4.3bn acquisition of cybersecurity specialist Darktrace before year-end.

Private equity firms however had more success selling companies to each other than through stock market listings or corporate sales. Of the 175 recorded exits across Europe in the first half of the year—consistent with the same period in 2023—93 were sales to other private equity buyers, while 66 were to companies.

 

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