British chiefs anticipate M&A shopping spree

BRITISH bosses are expecting a wave of big deals in 2013, planning to expand their companies through mergers and acquisitions rather than via organic growth, research from PwC has revealed.

An international survey of chief executives found that 43 per cent of British business leaders plan to complete a domestic M&A deal this year, the highest proportion in the world. Meanwhile, only one in five said they were “very confident” about growth over the year, compared to more than one in three chief executives globally.

Over-regulation and the government’s tackling of the deficit were two of the biggest concerns raised. And UK bosses were relatively unconfident about overseas growth, with only 14 per cent targeting overseas expansion in 2013.

These concerns about growth mean that 83 per cent of bosses intend to cut costs – far above the global average.

Data from Dealogic yesterday suggested that the shopping spree had already begun, with private equity buyouts to date in 2013 hitting their highest values since 2007. Private equity-related M&A activity has hit $15.6bn (£9.8bn) worldwide since 1 January, up from $9.2bn last year.