digital deals drive record year

A report by Kingston Smith, the professional services group, identfies 2015 as a record year for M&A activity with global deal activity estimated at over USD4.5 trillion.

Of the 172 deals analysed by the group in its marketing and media deal tracker, 60 per cent were digitally focused, including media tech which accounted for 28 per cent.

A total of 33 per cent of deals analysed involved a UK company acquiring an overseas one. 18% of transactions involved a UK company being acquired by an overseas one. This trend is reflective of the strength of the UK economy, the quality of the UK creative industries and the attractiveness of the UK and London in particular as the place to be headquartered.

As expected, the most common country involved in a UK overseas transaction was the USA, with 18 per cent of all transactions involving the USA. A common language remains a key consideration for acquirers, as 52 per cent of overseas companies acquired by UK companies and 71 per cent of overseas acquirers were based in countries which have English as an official language. Of the 172 deals involving UK companies, 10 per cent were from the US, the most common location of buyers.

Acquirers originating from Europe only made up 19 per cent of overseas acquirers, with buyers originating from France, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Nearly 50 per cent of US firms that made UK based acquisitions in the marketing and media sectors in 2015 were headquartered in New York (see infographic below)

US deals infographic

Above: the infographic shows the relative frequency of location of US acquirers of UK creative businesses. Source: Kingston Smith.