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Brexit stalemate derails appetite for deal-making with takeover rate grinding to a three-year low

October 14, 2017 6:56 PM
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Deal-making in the City is drying up as the stalemate in Brexit negotiations threatens to derail the British economy.

September was the quietest month for takeovers of British firms in three years, according to data compiled for The Mail on Sunday by Thomson Reuters.

Just 149 takeovers of British firms totalling £4.7 billion were announced – two-thirds of last September’s total.

The month is usually one of the busiest as financiers return from holiday and firms announce deals they hope to complete by Christmas.

The Co-op is buying Nisa for £143 million and Singapore tycoon Kwek Leng Beng has offered to buy Millennium & Copthorne Hotels for £1.8 billion.

But the relative drought is grim news for City accountants, bankers, lawyers and PRs, who earn huge fees from mergers or takeovers.

September 2016 saw 242 takeovers with a total value of nearly £7 billion. September 2015 saw just 207 deals, but they were worth nearly £30 billion.

The analysis by Thomson Reuters also shows that August and September 2017 were the worst consecutive months for takeovers of British companies since May 2013.

There was a brief surge in deals after last year’s referendum as foreign predators looked to take advantage of the pound’s fall.

Japan’s Softbank launched a £24.3 billion takeover of FTSE 100-listed Arm Holdings, which designs chips for Apple, just days after the referendum result.

And Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox submitted its £11 billion takeover bid for Sky in December 2016.


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