UK outperforms Europe for early-stage mergers and acquisitions activity despite Brexit fears

Suzie Neuwirth
Rule Britannia: The UK's dealmakers are undeterred by recent volatility (Source: Getty)

The UK is outperforming the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for early-stage mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, according to new research published today.

Dealmakers in the country are clearly undeterred by the recent market volatility, with data from financial software provider Intralinks showing that the number of M&A deals that are either in preparation or have reached the due diligence stage have grown by 14.9 per cent year-on-year.

The EMEA region as a whole is the strongest performing region, rising by 11 per cent compared to the global figure of 8.1 per cent.

The Intralinks data indicated that deal pipelines are increasing in the consumer, real estate and retail sectors while materials, high technology and energy early-stage deal activity is weakening.

The flurry of nascent UK deals also shows that bankers and chief executives have shrugged off concerns around the upcoming EU membership referendum, that could potentially lead to the UK quitting the European political and economic alliance.

“Despite potential concerns over a “Brexit” decision in the anticipated UK EU membership referendum, European dealmakers still appear willing to start deals, which should translate into a higher level of M&A announcements in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year,” said Philip Whitchelo, Intralinks’ vice president of strategy and product marketing.

“Concerns over a slowing global economy and market volatility mean that the rate of growth in M&A in 2016 looks likely to be lower than in 2015, but it does not indicate that the M&A boom we have witnessed over the past two years is coming to an end in the next six months.”

Dr Liam Fox MP, a former cabinet member, said: “This report shows how wrong the Remain campaign are in their so-called ‘project fear’, which implies that British economy would fail outside the European Union. It is clear that the financial, regulatory and legal frameworks for business in the UK is what attracts business to the UK not our membership of the EU”.

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