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Gloucestershire Business News

Record quarter for South West mergers and acquisitions

The South West mergers and acquisitions market recorded 181 deals in the first quarter of 2021, the highest number ever recorded by Experian's Market IQ.

Findings show a 22 per cent increase on the same period last year and continues the upturn seen since the disruption caused by Covid-19 at the start of Q2 2020.

Deal values also outperformed previous years, with the £21.1bn recorded in the first three months of 2021, representing a 306 per cent per cent growth on the same period last year.

The Market IQ report said: "The resilience of the market can only be good news for dealmakers, and as the country continues to re-open for business and leisure again, M&A will undoubtedly creep back on to corporate agendas."

National Grid's £14.2bn transformational offer to acquire Western Power Distribution from US energy firm PPL Corp was the highest value deal of the quarter. Completion of the deal, which is expected by July 2021, is expected to pivot the National Grid's UK portfolio towards electricity and significantly scale its position in electricity distribution.

The quarter also saw the investment by Silver Lake and Nestle into acquisitive veterinary care group, IVC Evidensia, in a deal worth €3.5bn. And Wimbornebased Cobham sold its air-to-air refuelling business to Eaton Corp, for just over £2bn.

Where funding arrangements were disclosed, private equity accounted for 11 per cent of South West deals, in comparison to 16 per cent in the first three months of 2020.

With an office in Cheltenham, Harrison Clark Rickerbys was the most active legal adviser of the quarter, advising on 19 deals, followed by Burges Salmon with eight deals and Gowling WLG on seven.

BDO topped the volume table for financial advisers with 34, having advised IVC Evidensia on its acquisition spree. PKF Francis Clark took second place with 12 deals, followed by Cheltenham-based Hazlewoods in third place with nine deals.

Goldman Sachs topped the value table, advising on deals worth £17.5bn, followed by Barclays and Robey Warshaw in joint second on £14.4bn.

The South West accounted for 24 per cent of all UK deal values and 11 per cent of volume.

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