Thursday 16 January 2020 2:21 pm

Value of UK deals almost doubled in ‘spectacular’ end to 2019

The value of UK private equity and venture capital deals almost doubled in the last quarter of 2019, boosted by a spate of mega-buyouts worth over €1bn (£854m).

Although the total number of deals fell during the three months to 31 December, six mega-buyouts helped propel overall UK deal value to €27bn — an 80 per cent increase on the third quarter’s total of €15bn, according to new data from private equity research firm Unquote.

UK mega-buyouts completed in the fourth quarter include the €6.6bn takeover of Merlin entertainments by a consortium and a private equity firm Thoma Bravo’s €3.6bn takeover of software maker Sophos.

“The European private equity market is continuing on its spectacular bull-run,” said Unquote head of data and research Julian Longhurst.

“In annual terms, the UK market surged ahead of 2018,” he added.

Investors signed off 2,960 private equity deals throughout 2019. This represents an increase of almost 15 per cent on the previous year, and follows two similar increases in 2017 and 2018.

Within this, the number of buyouts recorded grew 3.6 per cent during the year to 1,119 deals.

The overall value of deals for the year rose three per cent to just over €246bn, Unquote data shows. 

While the value of buyouts and early stage deals both fell slightly to €201bn and €3.3 respectively, the amount spent on growth deals shot up almost 70 per cent to €42bn.

“Given the amount of new money that is continuing to flow into the market, it is hard to see that [deal value] will slow down significantly in 2020,” Longhurst said.

“We fully expect to see yet another very strong year.”