The UK is a driving force in tech M&A while artificial intelligence is boosting global deal activity

Lucy White
In the fintech and IT niches, the UK received more funds from US investors than any other European country (Source: Getty)

The UK is still a power to be reckoned with in the technology sector despite Brexit, according to a series of reports on tech mergers and acquisitions (M&A) from advisory firm Hampleton Partners.

M&A involving British companies accounted for one in 10 e-commerce deals in the first half of 2017, the report revealed, with the $490m sale of online insurer Simply Business to US group Travelers boosting value in the sector.

Read more: Ocado must deliver a groundbreaking technology deal as competition mounts in the food delivery industry

Meanwhile in the fintech and IT niches, the UK received more funds from US investors than any other European country.

“M&A and funding is accelerating in select sectors, as more ‘non-technology’ or traditional companies and private equity firms move to acquire and invest in technology and innovation,” said Hampleton's Miro Parizek.

“Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality or virtual reality and cybersecurity are three of the most promising sectors for technology M&A right now.”

Although technology deals slowed down in the first half of the year globally, according to Hampleton's data, acquisitions of AI-related targets rocketed 179 per cent compared to the previous year.

Read more: Private equity giant Blackstone buys majority stake in London technology company Cloudreach

European investors were setting the pace in automotive technology, with 59 per cent of automotive technology companies acquired by European buyers compared to 37 per cent purchased by North American investors.

The UK also led the way in enterprise software, as the number of M&A deals involving a British company accounted for 35 per cent of all deals in Europe. Germany, in second place, took only 13 per cent.

Hampleton's report noted that the UK is “expected to dominate European deal share” in the sector for the foreseeable future, “even with ongoing concern about Brexit”.

Overall in the technology sector, as of today, Hampleton has seen 2,239 technology deals worth a disclosed $189bn so far this year.

Deals involving a UK target or acquirer accounted for 308 of these, amounting to a disclosed value of almost $24bn.

Read more: UK expected to retain strong M&A relationship with the rest of Europe despite Brexit uncertainty

Related articles