M&As between UK companies drop to lowest level in 29 years

Ben Southwood
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THE VALUE of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving UK firms crashed in the fourth quarter of 2012, figures revealed yesterday.

M&A wholly within the UK plummeted to levels unseen for 29 years, with just £3.3bn worth of deals, the lowest total since 1983 on a current price basis.

Meanwhile, foreign firms spent only £1.6bn on UK firms in the final three months of the year, down from £8.2bn in the third quarter, and capping off the softest year for inward acquisitions since 2003, with just £16.7bn spent in 2012 as a whole.

UK firms also slashed their spending on foreign firms, from £8.2bn in the third quarter to £1.3bn in the fourth, contributing to a yearly total of £16.4bn, down from £50.2bn in 2011.

The year saw many high-profile deals fall through, including the deal between defence contractor BAE – led by chief executive Ian King – and European firm EADS.