Grant Thornton tops league table of M&A advisers, capping strong year of growth

Alex Hyde, director in Grant Thornton’s Transaction Advisory Services


Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has been ranked as the UK’s number one financial adviser by deal volume, in the latest Experian MarketIQ M&A Review. The accolade comes as the firm celebrates another successful year of merger and acquisition (M&A) deal activity.

The Experian MarketIQ M&A Review also recognises Grant Thornton’s regional presence, placing the firm in second place for the volume of deals, with the Midlands’ team advising on a total of 28 transactions.

Nationally, the firm’s corporate finance team was involved in a total of 165 publicly disclosed deals, and 179 transactions overall, in the 2017 calendar year with a total transaction value of £5.5 billion. This represents a 25% increase in the volume of completed transactions over 2016 for the M&A team, with an average transaction value of £31m.

Of these transactions, over a quarter (26%) were cross-border deals, highlighting the continued interest from international firms in gaining a foothold in the UK and the continued drive to develop international markets. One third (33%) of transactions involved private equity (PE) backing – an increase of 28% on the previous year – demonstrating the continued resilience of the PE market and the significant level of ‘dry powder’ for investment.

Birmingham-based Alex Hyde, director in Grant Thornton’s Transaction Advisory Services team, said:

“Whilst the overall deal market experienced some economic and political headwinds, 2017 was a very busy and exciting year for our team. The total number of deal completions in the UK market was down by close to 10%, but we delivered a 25% increase in the number of deals closed by our national Advisory team. The level of liquidity in equity, debt and public markets and the continued appetite of international corporates for quality UK assets provides a strong underpin for deal activity into 2018.

“Our deal track record reflects the significant progress we are making in growing our market share and the quality of our mandates. The combination of our deep sector expertise, local relationships, international reach and a joined-up proposition across all aspects of the deal is really resonating in the market. We are entering 2018 on a very strong footing and are well positioned for further growth this year.”

Throughout the year, Grant Thornton acted in both buy and sell-side capacities across a variety of sectors throughout the UK. Notable transactions included:

  • Investcorp’s acquisition of Kee Safety in a £280m deal
  • Avingtrans plc’s acquisition of Hayward Tyler Group
  • Palatine Private Equity’s investment in TTC Group
  • The non-core divestment of Grass Roots Meeting and Events by Nasdaq listed Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. to BCD Travel
  • The sale of patient communication and experience specialist Healthcare Communications to AiM listed IMImobile plc
  • Advising Norcros plc on its £60 million acquisition of Irish based bathroom accessories and furnishings business Merlyn Industries
  • The sale of specialist education services provider Education Personnel Management Limited to private equity backed Citation Limited
  • The £163 million IPO of Alpha Financial Markets Consultancy Limited on AiM
  • The sale of Aspect Enterprise Solutions, the commodity trade, risk management and analytics cloud platform, to ION Investment Group.
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