Transatlantic M&A activity remains solid, says Deloitte

Major deals included Brown-Forman's purchase of BenRiach. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Major deals included Brown-Forman's purchase of BenRiach. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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US investment in Scottish businesses held up in 2015 and 2016 despite turbulence in global markets and the outlook remains “positive”, new research indicates.

Analysis by accountancy giant Deloitte found that there were 40 deals in both directions in the last 24 months – the bulk of then, 28, involving US acquirers in Scotland while 12 Scottish businesses purchased assets across the Atlantic.

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Across Britain, the latest “US/UK M&A Deal Monitor” showed that the manufacturing and TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications) sectors were the most active over the past two years. Meanwhile, the value of transactions with a disclosed figure topped £4.8 billion.

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Of the UK regions, excluding London and south-east England, Scotland was placed third for US outbound M&A (mergers and acquisitions), behind the east of England and north-west of England.

Among the most notable Scottish deals in 2016 were Facebook’s acquisition of Edinburgh audio specialist Two Big Ears and Brown-Forman’s £285 million purchase of the BenRiach Distillery Company.

Cahal Dowds, chairman of Deloitte’s corporate finance advisory business, said: “Globally, M&A activity has dropped in the aftermath of Brexit – an expected outcome as the levels of uncertainty increase. Nevertheless, US/UK M&A deals have remained resilient.

“The US is still investing in Scottish companies and the outlook for the next 12 months remains largely positive.”

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