UK M&A activity reached £217 billion in 2017

UK mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity reached  £217 billion in 2017, with many deals spurred on by falls in the value of Sterling, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals.

The ONS’ data suggests that overall activity was up by almost 30 per cent on the previous year, with a number of high-value deals agreed midway through the year.

In the third quarter (Q3) of 2017 alone, deals were worth £86.4 billion – following a successful second quarter (Q2) which gave way to £33.2 billion worth of deals.

According to the ONS’ report, multiple drops in the value of the Pound spurred on a series of cross-border deals throughout the year, with investors from overseas nations pumping money into tie-ins with – or acquisitions of – UK companies.

Deals were also influenced by a growing trend towards digital transformation, both in the UK and overseas, the ONS said.

This sentiment echoes separate research featured in City AM earlier this week, which found that as many as 3,441 tech sector M&A deals were agreed globally in 2017, with a combined value of approximately $325 billion (£235 billion).

Meanwhile, the ONS noted that there were a plethora of transactions involving British digital firms last year.

Looking ahead, the general consensus is that UK M&A activity will continue to remain strong in 2018 – particularly in the tech sector, which it is thought will enjoy bumper deal activity for the foreseeable future.

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Nigel is the firm’s Managing Partner and joint Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. He is widely experienced in complex litigation matters, and various forms of dispute resolution.