UK still in top 3 for M&A despite European crisis

Marion Dakers
THE MERGERS and acquisitions market is still in the doldrums, yet the UK and other established venues are not currently missing out on a swathe of lucrative deals at the expense of newer markets, according to research from Ernst & Young (E&Y) and the Cass Business School.

M&A activity in developing markets has remained steady as a percentage of the world’s deals since 2009, accounting for around 40 per cent of global transactions, said E&Y.

And while deal volumes worldwide are up 10 per cent in the second quarter compared to last year, much of the increase comes from large transactions in North America. The UK remains the third most attractive place to do a deal, behind the US and Singapore. Asian countries make up half of the researchers’ top ten most mature markets.

Ernst & Young’s chief economist and transaction partner Mark Gregory said: “While the sovereign debt crisis has had far reaching effects on countries in the Eurozone, the UK, in terms of its appeal in attracting domestic and cross-border transactions, has consolidated its position as one of the world’s leading markets for M&A.”

But over the longer term, E&Y has picked out several nations that are becoming more attractive as venues for deals, based on infrastructure, regulatory environment, socio-economics and technological capability.

The United Arab Emirates has climbed up the rankings in the past 12 months to take 20th spot in E&Y’s global table, while Poland has shot up to 30th, Romania has risen 13 places to 36th and Thailand, the Czech Republic and Malaysia were also singled out as rapid growth markets. But in an indication of what E&Y describes as a “two-speed world”, Portugal has slumped eight positions to 39th, while Greece has fallen 12 spots to 53rd in the world in the last year.