The UK deals market remains in good health despite the gathering headwinds facing the economy and Brexit-related uncertainty. The strength of the market is buoyed by an unceasing demand for high quality businesses from both trade buyers and private equity, with buyers willing to pay very high multiples.
Strategic buyers continue to hunt for businesses with a track record in making solid profits, have good prospects that are backed up by a robust plan and model, and are being led by a quality management team. And, as we’ve seen over the course of the last year, there is particular interest in those businesses using cutting edge technology to disrupt a market.
Our UK M&A team has acted as lead financial advisor on over 60 deals in the last year with a number of notable trends:
Actual deal volumes are down in the last 12 months, but the results where deals have happened have been very strong, as shown by the double digit EBITDA multiples that we’ve achieved on a large number of our transactions.
Looking ahead, I expect confidence to be tested as margins are squeezed by inflation, rising input costs and softening consumer spending. However, we know that businesses are still considering the spectrum of private equity, trade and IPO when exploring a prospective fundraising option or exit route. We are seeing business owners seeking to raise funds for growth or de-risk by selling in full or in part, and the funding available for deals currently remains strong, so we certainly don’t expect transaction activity to tail off in the short term. Looking forward to 2019, I would expect the intensity of the activity to level off as some corporates start to adopt more cautious strategies in the wake of Brexit and threats of protectionism in key markets.
For further details on our deals by sector & region, please follow the links below.
Head of Corporate Finance, UK