Scotland records 165 deals worth £2.3 billion in pandemic year

Scotland records 165 deals worth £2.3 billion in pandemic year

Scotland recorded 165 deals worth £2.3 billion in a year subdued by the pandemic, the Experian United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland M&A Review, shows.

Addleshaw Goddard retained its half-year ranking at the top of the table, with a total of nine deals, followed by CMS with six deals and Gateley with four. Pinsent Masons, Burges Salmon and MacRoberts all had three deals each. Slaughter and May had two.

DLA Piper secured first position in the value rankings on £320 million worth of deals, with Slaughter and May in second place on £271m. Goodwin ranked third on £93m, just ahead of Pinsent Masons with £92m. Fifth place went to Norton Rose Fulbright on £91m and sixth to CMS on £41m. Shepherd and Wedderburn took joint seventh with Winston & Strawn on deals each worth £30m.

In Scotland, the start of Q2 saw a sudden drop-off in activity as the pandemic worsened and while Q3 saw no further deterioration in deal volumes, there has been no sign yet of a return to normality for deal making.

Overall figures show the total number of deals announced in the year to date has fallen by 65 per cent, with deal values falling more sharply at 70 per cent. Scotland recorded 165 deals worth £2.3bn in comparison to 465 deals worth £7.6bn in the same period last year.

Experian recorded 3,780 deals in the UK for the first nine months of 2020, which represented a decline of 30 per cent on the 5,406 transactions carried out over the same period of 2019. This was the lowest figure since Q1-Q3 2009, in the aftermath of the credit crunch.

Gateley was the UK’s leading legal adviser by transaction volume, advising on 110 deals so far this year, followed by Harrison Clark Rickerbys (96 transactions) and Shoosmiths (71). US firms dominated the value side, with Latham & Watkins’ £44bn worth of deals, including a buyside role on Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm, topping the table ahead of Shearman & Sterling (£37bn).

Jane Turner, research manager, Experian MarketIQ, said: “The Covid-19 crisis continues to have an acute impact on the UK’s M&A market and our latest figures suggest that we’re some way off a return to normality, although a small uptick in volume and a rush of high-value deals in Q3 raise hopes that the direction of travel is positive at least.

“It looks as if the speed of recovery will vary widely between sectors, with technology, media and telecoms deals leading the way. While market volatility and the challenges in accurately assessing company valuations have led many businesses to postpone their investment decisions, others are eyeing opportunities for consolidation or for the acquisition of distressed assets – a trend we expect to see grow as we move further into Q4 and beyond.

“Elsewhere, the private equity sector remains highly active and we’re still seeing fundraising and refinancing transactions in large numbers - again, this is likely to be a key part of deal activity in the short to medium term.”

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