Private equity firms shun big ticket deals for British business

Michael Bow
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PRIVATE equity firms’ investment in British businesses fell 30 per cent this year, despite signs of an uptick in the economy

Buyout firms spent £13.9bn buying UK firms between January and November, down on the £20.4bn spent in the same period in 2012.

The figures, from Mergermarket, reflect a trend for smaller individual deals, given the number of buyouts executed was 192 this year versus 197 last year. The numbers are surprising given roaring UK stock markets and an increase in global M&A deal making.
“The decline in deal values in the UK is not a real reflection of the relative health of the private equity market, as most houses looking at the larger deals have a pan-European strategy and this year the centre of gravity of a number of the larger deals has happened to be outside the UK,” Latham & Watkins private equity partner David Walker said.

Investors were similarly reluctant to let go of British firms, with £14.6bn sold in UK firms this year, down from £18.9bn in 2012.

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