The UK is second in the world for tech startup exits

Lynsey Barber
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M&A and IPOs in tech have risen quarterly but remain below last year

More tech startups in the UK went public or were acquired than in any other country in the world behind only the US at the start of the year, new research reveals.

The high-profile acquisitions of Swiftkey by Microsoft and Magic Pony by Twitter helped send tech merger and acquisition (M&A) surging across Europe.

Read more: Why companies like Twitter are paying top dollar for AI startups

There were 135 mergers or acquisitions in the second quarter of the year in the UK, accounting for 65 per cent of all activity across Europe, and there was one IPO, according to the new figures from CB Insights.

Global tech IPO activity started to pick up in the second quarter of the year, however, the scarcity in the first quarter meant the first half of 2016 is still down 41 per cent on the same time last year.

There were 820 exits globally in total in the quarter, 16 of which were IPOs, including Twilio and NantHealth.

Meanwhile, more so-called unicorns – tech startups valued at more than $1bn (£770m) – are proving their worth by going public or being acquired than are being created.

Read more: London continues reign as unicorn startup capital of Europe

There were five exits worth more than one billion dollars in the quarter and just four unicorns born, the first time exits have overtaken creations in six consecutive quarters.