M&A activity in Scotland soars with deal values totalling £16.4bn

M&A volume in Scotland last year rose by 38% over 2020 while deal values rose to £16.4 billion over the same period, according to the latest Experian United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland M&A Review.

M&A activity in Scotland soars with deal values totalling £16.4bn

Addleshaw Goddard was once again ranked top adviser for deals by volume, with a total of 34. It was followed by Pinsent Masons, which had 15 deals while Gateley took third place with 12. CMS and TLT followed with 11 deals each.

Slaughter and May topped the value rankings, having advised on three of the top ten deals in Scotland in the year so far. Freshfields took second position, and Davis Polk rounded out the top three.

Where detailed funding arrangements were disclosed, cash and existing funds were the preferred method of financing deals. Private equity-backed deals represented 23 per cent of the total volume, a level which has remained stable year on year.

Scottish Enterprise was by some way the most prolific investor, with Par Equity, Old College Capital, Business Growth Fund, SIS Ventures and Maven Capital Partners also actively investing in the region. Debt funding supported just under six per cent of deals announced, down slightly from eight per cent last year, with HSBC, Scottish National Bank and ThinCats being the most active.

Scotland’s dealmaking activity returned to growth in 2021, with the volume of deals announced up from 281 in 2020 to 388 in 2021. Values soared too, from £4.9bn in 2020, to £16.4bn in 2021.

Whilst the M&A market has some way to go before reaching the levels enjoyed pre-pandemic, 2021 was certainly a year of reversed fortunes. Activity was up across all value segments, most notably in the number of mega deals announced – whilst 2020 saw no such deals, 2021 recorded six – worth £10.6bn.

Small, mid-market and large cap deals all rose on average by around 33% in contrast to the numbers recorded in 2020. In terms of value, the mid-market enjoyed growth of just over 30% with small cap deals not far behind with a 24% increase.

With the continued easing of restrictions, Scotland’s dealmakers have a lot to look forward to in 2022, Experian said. Scotland accounted for 5.1% of all UK deal values and 5.6% of deal volumes.

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