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Global M&A deal volumes down but transaction multiples remain robust

Global deal volumes fell by 18% from 18,443 in the second half of 2018, to 15,076 in the first half of this year according to research into global M&A activity by Deloitte.

Transaction multiples remain strong, with increasing competition for quality assets, and mega-mergers driving over £50bn of UK transactions announced during July alone.

Fenton Burgin, head of UK Advisory Corporate Finance at Deloitte said: “While there has undoubtedly been a fall in deal volumes at the higher end of the market, the mid-market is holding up well, fuelled by private equity’s reported US $2trn of global ‘dry powder’. There are notable bright spots in the technology, healthcare and consumer sectors, demonstrating competitive pricing for quality assets. Corporates are focusing on key strategic assets in the context of the ‘synchronised slowdown’ and increasing uncertainty around trade tariffs and the global economy.”

Transatlantic M&A activity between the US-UK has seen a decrease of 20% by volume, but the 216 deals in H1 2019 between the US and UK still represented more than the combined total number of the deals between the US and Germany, France and Spain.

Paul Lupton, UK lead US-UK M&A corridor said: “Transatlantic deal volumes have fallen across many of the major European markets in 2019. However, there is still a strong appetite for technology assets in cross border transactions, accounting for over a quarter (28%) of US-UK deals in H1 2019. This is attributable to the asset light business models which enable greater potential for geographical expansion and scalability.”

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