UK M&A report: Overall activity "relatively flat", but British companies increased shopping abroad last quarter

William Turvill
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There were 107 completed M&A deals involving UK companies in the fourth quarter of 2015 (Source: Getty)

UK M&A activity in the fourth quarter of 2015 was "relatively flat" year on year and down on the third quarter.

The Office for National Statistics noted M&A “involving UK companies continued to show low levels of activity compared with those seen before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn”.

During the period, completed acquisitions of foreign companies by UK firms were up 50 per cent quarter on quarter and 20 per cent year on year.

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The ONS said that during the fourth quarter, between October and December last year, the total number of successful domestic and cross-border M&A deals involving UK companies remained “relatively flat” on the third quarter of 2015 and on the fourth quarter of 2014.

The ONS report covers M&A transactions that have been successfully completed, result in a change in ultimate control of a target company and have a value of at least £1m.

During 2015, there were a total of 510 M&A deals traced. This was up from 471 in 2014.

In the fourth quarter there were 107 deals, down from 120 in the third quarter.

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The fourth quarter saw 33 completed acquisitions of foreign companies made by UK firms, up 50 per cent from 22 in the third quarter.

Over 2015 as a whole, there were 136 such deals completed, up 20 per cent from 113 in 2014.

Meanwhile, the total number of inward, cross-border deals was 24, up 27 per cent on the third quarter. And there were 41 domestic M&A deals reported - up 25 per cent quarter on quarter.

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