Friday 8 March 2019 2:55 pm

European M&A value hits six-year low driven by fall in UK deals

European merger and acquisition values have hit a six-year low in 2019 so far driven by Brexit-related uncertainty among foreign investors.

M&A deals in Europe have reached $81.1bn in the year to date, down 60 per cent on the previous year to levels not seen since 2013, according to analysis from Refinitiv.

Read more: M&A could be the cure for the UK's threatened pharmaceutical industry

The UK has seen a 75 per cent decrease since this time last year as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has shaken investor confidence.

“With the UK having historically attracted a good part of inbound investments into Europe, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that low M&A volumes appear as we approach the Brexit deadline and the high level of uncertainty that this represents for foreign investors,” Refinitiv Deals Intelligence analyst Gonzalo Ponce Pestana said.

“Although other nations have also seen a decrease in activity , it is clear that with a 75 per cent year-on-year decrease, the UK has played a significant part in this downwards trend.”

Read more: Domestic M&A deal value reaches decade high despite Brexit uncertainty

It has also been a poor start to the year for equity flows, with $10bn wiped out over the last week, according to analysis from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

More than $60bn has been pulled out of equities since the beginning of 2019, Reuters reported. Almost $80bn has been wiped from developed markets and around $18bn has been invested in emerging markets.