European mergers and acquisitions are on the up as US activity drops in the first half of the year

 
Lucy White
F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice
European figures would have been boosted by a few megadeals, such as the sale of Formula One to the US's Liberty Media Group (Source: Getty)

Europe has had a booming first half of the year, as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving Europe-headquartered target businesses are up 33 per cent in value at $449bn.

Businesses in the US, however, are not faring so well. M&A in the States fell 16 per cent compared to the first half of 2016, with just $583.9bn racked up in the first six months of 2017.

But rather than indicating that US buyers are sitting back and taking stock, the figures from Thomson Reuters seem to show them coming in droves to buy European businesses.

Cross-border M&A rose to a first-half ten-year high of $630.9bn, powered by outbound activity from the US and inbound to Europe.

In fact cross-border activity put domestic buyers to shame, constituting 40 per cent of overall M&A volume.

Figures would have been boosted by a few megadeals, such as the $8bn sale of Formula One to the US's Liberty Media Group

China was significantly less active overseas than in the first half of last year, with its outbound M&A totalling $64.3bn – a 49 per cent decline on the first six months of 2016.

As for the UK, transactions involving a company headquartered in the country amounted to $88.47bn – significantly up from the $45.87m.

But the real surprise came from UK businesses spending abroad.

They splashed a total of $60.36bn overseas in the first half of the year – up from $20.71bn in the same period last year – the larges amount in a first half since 2008.

However the number of deals was down by 12 at 515, suggesting that a significant amount of the increased value may have been due to the drop in value of sterling.

Read more: Private equity deals drop off in second quarter despite booming start to the year, new figures show

Related articles