Thursday 12 September 2019 5:59 pm

M&A activity targeting UK slumps amid no-deal Brexit fears

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity targeting the UK has fallen almost 40 per cent on the same period last year, with investors slowing down decision making amid ongoing political turmoil.

Corporate M&A also tumbled to £15.1bn in the second quarter of 2019, its lowest value since the EU referendum according to data from Mergermarket.

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Sterling’s weakness has also dampened investment abroad, with just £8.4bn spent by UK companies abroad during the second quarter – also the lowest figure since the referendum.

Mergermarket warned that retail was likely to be among the sectors hit hardest by a no-deal Brexit, and had already begun to falter. There have been a total of 86 deals in the UK consumer sector so far this year, the lowest figures since 2010.

“The uncertainty surrounding a no deal scenario has caused a considerable slowdown in dealmaking by UK-based firms,” said Mergermarket research editor Jonathan Klonowski .

“Many businesses continue to withhold investment given the lack of clarity over the future trading arrangements and the probable downturn the economy will suffer,” he said.

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Despite subdued activity across other sectors, a small amount of larger deals helped push inbound M&A to £22.2bn for July and August this year, already above the totals for the first two quarters.

These included Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s purchase of pub group Greene King and Just Eat’s £9bn merger with

Main image credit: Getty