Recent figures from Experian’s latest Market IQ review covering the period to the end of Q3 2017 show that, whilst the quarterly trend of UK deal value and volume in 2017 has been downwards, the cumulative deal value of £217bn is 30% higher than it was at this point last year. This value growth is the result of a 6% rise in very large deals (£100m to £1bn), masking a c.25% decline in mid-market deals.

Growth in private equity activity and an increase in the number of cross border transactions is evident throughout the market, including the small end where we at Smith Cooper have seen a rise; our deals include the sale of industrial sealant manufacturer Adshead Ratcliffe to Carlisle Companies Incorporated – a New York Stock Exchange listed group, and the sale by Kuwait-based Kout Food Group of its fried chicken restaurant business to Herbert Central Limited.

Regionally speaking, the Midlands has followed a similar trajectory to the rest of the UK with deal volume down by almost 18% (to 657), but value up by almost 39%, at the end of Q3 2017.

In 2017 to date, manufacturing was the Midlands’ most active industry, followed closely by the wholesale and retail industry, reporting 223 and 185 deals respectively. These two industries have been the source of much of Smith Cooper’s deal activity, the Corporate Finance team having completed transactions such as the sales of Wearwell Group Limited which designs and manufactures high quality technical workwear, Alca Fasteners which manufactures and supplies specialist fasteners, Evac+Chair International – a market leader in manufacturing life safety products, and the sales of WFF and KFC retail businesses.

Deal activity at Smith Cooper has been extremely brisk, Experian’s report ranking it as the 5th most active Financial Adviser in the Midlands by volume, a rise of 12 places.

Head of Smith Cooper Corporate Finance, John Farnsworth, commented “2017 has been a tremendous year so far; we have completed well over 20 deals, many with an international dimension encouraged by weaker sterling and some attractive UK businesses. This and other work has resulted in our highest ever ranking in the Midlands, a great endorsement of the talent and hard work of the team.”

To create an authoritative barometer of M&A deal activity across the wider Midlands, Smith Cooper conducts quarterly surveys. If you would like to take part in our next M&A survey, please contact Darren Hodson. Alternatively, click here to read our most recent M&A survey summary.

If you would like to read more about our deals, click here to read our most recent Deal Dispatch publication.