Domestic acquisitions fall to lowest level since records began

Peter Spence
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Acquisitions of UK companies by their peers are at the lowest level since 1969 (Source: Getty)

UK acquisitions of other UK companies worth £1m or more fell sharply in the first three months of this year, according to Office for National Statistics data.

Just 26 of these domestic acquisitions took place in the first quarter of the year, down from 59 in the last quarter of 2013. This is the lowest level of domestic mergers and acquisitions activity since the ONS began publishing records in 1969.

During the same period, a mere 20 companies in the UK were acquired by foreign companies, one of the lowest levels on record according to the ONS.

The ONS cites "relatively slow global economic growth, lack of confidence within the M&A markets and the length of time involved to complete transactions" as reasons for the decline witnessed in the first quarter.

The ONS lists just eight "significant transactions" in the first quarter of the year, each of which has a value of £100m or more.

  • Schneider Electric of France acquired Invensys of the UK.
  • Google of the USA acquired Deepmind Technologies of the UK.
  • BC Partners of Guernsey acquired Mergermarket of the UK.
  • Encore Capital Group of the USA acquired Marlin Financial Group of the UK.
  • Starwood Capital Group of the USA acquired De Vere Venues Group of the UK.
  • The Hain Celeastial Group of the USA acquired Tilda of the UK.
  • Zynga of the USA acquired Naturalmotion of the UK.
  • Markel Corporation of the USA acquired Abbey Protection of the UK.