In a recent survey conducted by Smith Cooper Corporate Finance, it’s clear that sentiment regarding M&A activity remains robust – 68% of professionals and private shareholders expect activity to increase or remain unchanged in the next 3 months, showing promise for the M&A landscape despite uncertainties.

Every 6 months, Smith Cooper Corporate Finance conduct a survey of professionals and family owned businesses to assess the state of M&A activity across the Midlands. In the latest survey, we have teamed up with BGF, the UK and Irelands most active investor, to gauge the current M&A outlook across the Midlands highlighting observed trends.

The findings from the survey suggests corporates and professionals based in the East Midlands are currently the most enthusiastic about future levels of M&A activity. This is in stark contrast to the results yielded in the same survey last time, whereby the West Midlands was the far more optimistic region.

2017 was a buoyant year for dealmakers in the UK. Low interest rates, access to capital, a weakening currency and a pickup in the growth has combined to create a flurry of activity in throughout the year.

The Midlands enjoyed the biggest increase in deal activity in the UK, and was recently placed 3rd in the UK and Ireland for value of deals completed.

Darren Hodson, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper comments “The overwhelming response from our survey was that 68% of respondents expected deal volumes to increase or not to change, whilst a further 80% anticipate either an increase or no change in the availability of UK debt. Whilst sentiment has softened from our last survey, it still highlights how vibrant the M&A market is.”

He continues “However, it is clear that business owners and professionals alike are more cautious about the prospects of M&A activity in 2018. This does not seem to be specifically in relation to Brexit nor availability of debt, where sentiment remains largely unchanged. It appears that this is down to prospects in the general economy.”

Within the survey, guest content is provided by Jonathon Earl, investor at BGF, with over 10 years of venture and growth capital investment experience. Jonathan provides his insight into availability of growth finance, stating “At BGF, we continue to meet hundreds of companies each year that are on a strong growth trajectory and with ambitions to further accelerate, despite any looming scaremongery.”

He continues “To illustrate, during 2017 BGF has invested over £300m, with investments in 48 new companies across the UK supporting a wide range of growth strategies including acquisitions, international expansion, sales and marketing, capital expenditure projects, site roll outs, and new product development to name but a few.”

To download the full survey summary, please click here.