Lowest M&A since 1987 at end of 2013

THERE were fewer mergers and acquisitions in the fourth quarter of 2013 than at any time since official records began more than a quarter of a century ago.

Despite the upturn of the economy as last year came to a close, and a spate of activity since the beginning of the new year, only 99 domestic and cross-border transactions involving UK companies went ahead in the last three months of 2013.

For the year in total there were only 450 deals, less than half as many as in 2011. The number of acquisitions abroad by UK companies plunged to just 50 for the year, in comparison to 441 in 2007. The number of UK companies acquiring other UK firs also dropped below 250 for the first time on record.

In terms of value, domestic acquisitions involving a change of majority share ownership grew, rising to £7.7bn, and nearly doubling from 2012. The total value of foreign companies buying up UK firms was £31.1bn.