M&A activity among UK firms jumps to 15-year high

M&A activity jumped almost 63 per cent through more than 3,000 deals
M&A activity jumped almost 63 per cent through more than 3,000 deals

Mega deals came back into fashion in the City last year, with chief executives becoming more confident as the drama of the financial crisis faded into the background.

Mergers and acquisition activity involving UK firms jumped almost 63% to $565 billion (£381bn), a 15-year high involving 3,385 deals, according to data firm Dealogic.

The biggest of these acquisitions saw London-listed Peroni and Grolsch group SABMiller bought by Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev for £71bn in a deal finalised last month.

The mammoth purchase by the Belgium-based firm was the largest ever for a British company and the fourth-biggest takeover in history.

The deal brings together some 400 brands including Stella Artois, Foster’s, Corona and Bulmers cider as well as a workforce of around 225,000.

However, AB InBev announced the sale of SABMiller’s US joint venture in November, with partner Molson Coors agreeing to buy the remaining 58% stake in MillerCoors for $12bn (£7.9bn) as the Belgium brewer seeks to get the deal past regulators.

Earlier this month SAB added that AB InBev was mulling sales of a raft of premium brands across the UK and Europe to further ease regulatory concerns over the deal.

The next biggest deal came with oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s £47bn agreed takeover bid for gas explorer BG Group announced in April.

The swoop by the Anglo-Dutch company came as the oil industry looks to become more efficient and reduce costs in the face of plunging crude prices.