UK leads pack in New Year dealmaking

Michael Bow
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THE UK private equity industry has helped lead a flurry of European dealmaking activity in the first two weeks of the year, with close to 85 per cent of deals inked involving UK outfits, data shows.

Of the £1.73bn worth of top deals inked across Europe between 2 January and 16 January, £1.46bn have involved a UK seller or buyer – underscoring the UK’s continued dominance of the European M&A sector.

The data, from publisher mergermarket obtained exclusively by City A.M., shows six of the ten biggest deals struck so far in Europe have been driven by UK firms.

Leading the pack is the £917m purchase of Italian firm Cerved Group by the UK’s CVC Capital Partners from Bain Capital and Clessidra signed on 2 January.

Other transactions include last week’s £150m sale of Wireless Infrastructure Group by Penta Capital Partners and Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Finance and the £200m sale of pub chain Admiral Taverns by Lloyds Banking Group.

The rapid start to the quarter may not be enough to keep pace with dealmaking a year ago, when the first 12 weeks of the year saw £106.5bn of private equity deals signed across Europe, a spike of more than a third compared to the previous year.