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Statistical bulletin: Mergers and Acquisitions involving UK companies, Quarter 3 July to September 2015 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 08 December 2015 Download PDF

Main points

  • During Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, the number of completed domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving UK companies continued to show much lower levels of activity compared with those seen before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.
  • In Quarter 3 2015, there were a combined total of 72 completed domestic and cross-border M&A involving a change of majority share ownership compared with 112 in the previous quarter (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015).
  • Domestic M&A (UK companies acquiring other UK companies) reported 31 successful transactions in Quarter 3 2015, the lowest since we first began to publish quarterly data in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 1969.
  • In Quarter 3 2015, the number of successful outward acquisitions (UK companies acquiring companies abroad) fell to 18 transactions, from 32 in the previous quarter (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015).
  • During Quarter 3 2015, there were 23 successful inward acquisitions of UK companies by foreign companies, the lowest number reported since Quarter 1 2013 (19).

Your views matter

We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform our work. For further information please contact us via email: m&a@ons.gsi.gov.uk or telephone   Michael Hardie on +44 (0) 1633 455923.

Uses of Mergers and Acquisitions data

The estimates produced for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are vital and important components of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows data (inward and outward) and which is used to calculate the UK Balance of Payments published in the Blue Book and Pink Book.

In addition the M&A data and information is used to update and maintain the structure of companies listed on the ONS Inter- Departmental Register (IDBR).

Summary

This release covers Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) transactions that have successfully completed, result in a change of ultimate control of the target company and have a value of £1 million or more. Information on the number and value of transactions are reported, in addition to whether transactions are acquisitions or disposals. Figures relating to mergers are included within acquisitions and those relating to demergers are contained within disposals. These statistics are presented on a current price basis, which are prices as they were at the time of measurement and are therefore not adjusted for inflation.

The quarterly numbers and value of M&A activity are prone to large quarter-on-quarter movements, as these data relate to specific “one time” only transactions. For example, one quarter can be heavily impacted by one large transaction. Therefore it can be more appropriate to analyse trends over time.

In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, there were a total of 72 successful domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions involving UK companies. This included 31 domestic transactions, 23 inward transactions and 18 outward transactions representing a fall of 36% on Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 (112) and a 20% fall on the number recorded in Quarter 3 2014 (90) (Figure 1).

Overall, during the third quarter of 2015 the total number of domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions involving UK companies remain at much lower levels of activity than before and immediately after the 2008 to 2009 the economic downturn.   

Figure 1: Number of acquisitions involving UK companies, 1990 to 2015

Figure 1: Number of acquisitions involving UK companies, 1990 to 2015
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Please click on image to enlarge.

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The level of successful M&A activity during Quarter 3 2015 can also be placed in context by comparing the levels of M&A activity involving UK companies with the average number, value and average value per transaction of consecutive 5-year intervals since 1997 (Table 1).

At Quarter 3 2015, the average value of 18 completed acquisitions made abroad by UK companies (outward M&A) was £90 million, similar to the value for acquisitions reported during the 5-year interval of Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2002 to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2006 (£86 million). However, when compared with average value for the 14 quarters, Quarter 1 2012 to Quarter 2 2015 (£186 million), the average value per transaction has fallen by £96 million, a decrease of 52%.

In contrast, the average value of 23 completed UK acquisitions made by foreign companies (inward M&A) during Quarter 3 2015 was reported as £383 million, showing an increase in the average value of £211 million when compared with 34 acquisitions completed in the period, Quarter 1 2012 to Quarter 2 2015 (£172 million). This increase in the average value of inward acquisitions at Quarter 3 2015 can be explained by a few large completed acquisitions which were valued in excess of £1 billion. This indicates that although there were fewer successful inward acquisitions involving UK companies in the Quarter 3 2015 (23) compared with Quarter 1 2012 to Quarter 2 2015 (34), the acquisitions which did complete were of a higher value.

At Quarter 3 2015, the average value for 31 domestic acquisitions of UK companies made by other UK companies (£23 million) saw a 23% fall when compared with the average value of £30 million reported for 56 completed acquisitions between Quarter 1 2012 and Quarter 2 2015.

Table 1: The average number and value of M&A involving UK companies, grouped into five year intervals, 1997 to 2015

  Abroad by UK companies   Overseas companies in the UK   Between UK companies
Number Value Average value  Number Value Average value  Number Value Average value 
1997 -2014 Q4 80            10,440 130 49              9,481 193 126              6,426 51
1997-2001 128            20,402 159 54              9,900 183 136            10,921 80
2002-2006 79              6,812 86 46              9,203 200 164              6,448 39
2007-2011 67              8,014 119 54            11,813 219 121              4,807 40
2012-2015 Q2 26              4,825 186 34              5,692 172 56              1,670 30
Q3 2015 18              1,617 90   23              8,804 383   31                  721 23

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. At Q1 2010 the deal identification threshold for the mergers and acquisitions surveys was raised from £0.1 million to £1.0 million. There is therefore a discontinuity in the number of transactions reported as  illustrated above.

  2. Average value per transaction.

  3. Quarter 4 is Oct to Dec 2014, Quarter 1 is Jan to Mar 2015, Quarter 2 is Apr to June 2015, Quarter 3 is July to Sept.

  4. At Q3 2015 the actual number of completed deals is used to calculate the average value per transaction.

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Transactions in the UK by other UK companies

During Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, the number of successful M&A of UK companies made by other UK companies (domestic M&A) saw a decrease when compared with the previous quarter (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015), continuing to report much lower levels of activity than before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Transactions in the UK by other UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.

Figure 2: Transactions in the UK by other UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. At Q1 2010 the deal identification threshold for the mergers and acquisitions surveys was raised from £0.1 million to £1.0 million. There is therefore a discontinuity in the number of transactions reported as illustrated above.
  2. All values are at current prices (see Background Notes for definition).
  3. Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
  4. Please click on image to enlarge.

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Quarter 3 2015 saw a 42% fall in the number of successful domestic M&A when compared with the previous quarter (Quarter 2 2015).There were 31 completed domestic acquisitions reported in Quarter 3 2015 compared with 53 acquisitions in Quarter 2 2015, the lowest number of domestic M&A reported since we first began to publish quarterly data in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 1969. Year-on-year comparison saw the total number of completed domestic M&A in Quarter 3 2015 (31 acquisitions) fall by 26% when compared with the number reported for the same quarter in 2014 (42 acquisitions).

The value of successful domestic acquisitions involving a change in majority share ownership also fell by 73% between the second and third quarters of 2015, from £2.6 billion in Quarter 2 2015 to £0.7 billion in Quarter 3 2015 and follows a similar pattern of activity which has been seen since Quarter 3 2012.

Year-on-year comparison of successful domestic M&A between Quarter 1 and Quarter 3 2015 shows that the combined total value of domestic acquisitions was lower than for the same period in 2014. Between Quarter 1 and Quarter 3 2015 the combined total value of domestic M&A (£5.0 billion) has fallen by 22% when compared with the total value for the same 3 quarters of 2014 (£6.4 billion). The combined number of domestic acquisitions between Quarter 1 and Quarter 3 2015 also fell slightly, from 133 (Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2014), to 129 (Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2015).

The total number of domestic M&A can be split into those made by independently-controlled companies and those which are subsidiaries. The acquisition of an independent company means the purchase of a company in its entirety, whereas the acquisition of a subsidiary means the acquisition of a part of a company between 50.1% to 100% (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Summary of mergers and acquisitions in the UK by other UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.

Figure 3: Summary of mergers and acquisitions in the UK  by other UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Please click on image to enlarge.
  2. Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

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During Quarter 3 2015, the number of successful acquisitions of independently-controlled companies (27), totalling £0.5 billion, represented the majority (87%) of the total number of completed domestic acquisitions and mergers (31).

In comparison, successful domestic acquisitions involving subsidiaries between UK company groups (4), valued at £0.3 billion, accounted for only 13% of the overall total number of domestic acquisitions involving a change of majority ownership.

Notable domestic acquisitions, valued at £100 million or more, that took place during Quarter 3 2015

Polypipe Group PLC of the UK acquired Nu-Oval Acquisitions 1 Ltd (Nuaire) of the UK

Daisy Group Holdings Ltd of the UK acquired Phoenix IT Group Plc of the UK

Transactions in the UK by foreign companies

During Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, the number of successful mergers and acquisitions of UK companies by foreign companies (inward M&A), involving a change of majority ownership, continued to see relatively flat levels of activity for the 8th consecutive quarter (since Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2013), remaining well below the numbers reported before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Transactions in the UK by foreign companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015

Figure 4: Transactions in the UK by foreign companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. At Q1 2010 the deal identification threshold for the mergers and acquisitions surveys was raised from £0.1 million to £1.0 million. There is therefore a discontinuity in the number of transactions reported as illustrated above.
  2. All values are at current prices (see Background Notes for definition).
  3. Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
  4. Please click on image to enlarge.

Download chart

In Quarter 3 2015, there were 23 completed acquisitions of UK companies made by foreign companies, compared with 27 in the previous quarter (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015). This reflects a fall in the level of inward M&A activity of approximately 15% and is the lowest number of successful inward M&A transactions reported for over 2 years, when 19 acquisitions were completed in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2013.

Between the first and second quarters of 2015, the value of successful acquisitions in the UK made by foreign companies (inward acquisitions) increased by 70%, from £5.7 billion reported in Quarter 1 2015 to £9.7 billion in Quarter 2 2015. However, in Quarter 3 2015, the value of inward M&A saw a decline falling to £8.8 billion, an overall decrease of 9% (£1.1 billion) when compared with the value of inward acquisitions (£9.7 billion) reported in the previous quarter (Quarter 2 2015).

One large publicly reported inward M&A that involved a change in majority share ownership and which completed during Quarter 3 2015 was the acquisition of Lafarge Tarmac Holdings Ltd of the UK, by CRH Plc of the Republic of Ireland.

Quarter 3 2015 saw 5 successful inward disposals of UK companies involving a change of majority share ownership, a quarter-on-quarter decline of 55% when comparison is made with Quarter 2 2015 (11 disposals).

In contrast, at Quarter 3 2015, the value of the inward disposals (£3.4 billion) shows an increase of £0.9 billion, when compared with the value of £2.5 billion recorded at Quarter 2 2015. This is an increase of 36% and is an indication that although there was a decline in the number of disposals of UK companies by foreign companies during Quarter 3 2015 compared with Quarter 2 2015, the transactions which did complete were higher in value.

A large inward disposal of a UK company which completed during Quarter 3 2015 was Lafarge Holcim Ltd of Switzerland who sold their majority ordinary share interests in Lafarge Tarmac Holdings of the UK to CRH Plc of the Republic of Ireland.

Other notable inward transactions, valued at £100 million or more, that took place in the UK by foreign companies during Quarter 3 2015

Ferrero International SA of Luxembourg acquired Thorntons Plc of the UK

Qualcomm Incorporated of the USA acquired CSR Plc of the UK

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc of the USA acquired Liz Earle Beauty Co Ltd of the UK

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc of the USA acquired Alfa Aesar Research Chemical Business (UK) of the UK

JBS S.A. of Brazil acquired Moy Park Holdings (Europe) Ltd of the UK

Argyle Street Management Holdings Limited of the British Virgin Islands acquired Asia Resource Minerals Plc of the UK

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd of Canada acquired Brit Plc of the UK

Optimal Payments Plc of the Isle of Man acquired Sentinel Holdco 2 Ltd of the UK

The Middleby Corporation of the USA acquired AGA Rangemaster Plc of the UK

Sentinel Group Holdings SA of Luxembourg disposed of Sentinel Holdco 2 Ltd of the UK

Avon Products Inc of the USA disposed of Liz Earle Beauty Co Ltd of the UK

Marfrig Global Foods SA of Brazil disposed of Moy Park Holdings (Europe) Limited of the UK

Transactions abroad by UK companies

In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, the number of UK companies that were successful in acquiring foreign companies (outward M&A), involving a change of majority ownership have continued to decline, even after having seen a slight upturn in number at Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015. During Quarter 3 2015, outward M&A followed a similar pattern to that seen for both domestic and inward M&A, continuing to report much lower levels of activity than seen before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Transactions abroad by UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.

Figure 5: Transactions abroad by UK companies, from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2006 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. At Q1 2010 the deal identification threshold for the mergers and acquisitions surveys was raised from £0.1 million to £1.0 million. There is therefore a discontinuity in the number of transactions reported as illustrated above.
  2. All values are at current prices (see Background Notes for definition).
  3. Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
  4. Please click on image to enlarge.

Download chart

In Quarter 3 2015 the number of successful acquisitions made abroad by UK companies (outward M&A), involving a change in majority share ownership decreased to 18 transactions. This shows a fall of 44% compared with the previous quarter (Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015) when 32 transactions were completed and also a year-on-year fall of 22% when compared with Quarter 3 2014 (23 transactions). This decline in the level of outward M&A activity between the second and third quarters appears to follow a similar pattern to that reported for the past 4 years, since Quarter 3 2012.

The value of outward M&A involving UK companies has also decreased during the third quarter of 2015, from £11.1 billion in Quarter 2 2015 to £1.6 billion in Quarter 3 2015, a notable quarter-on-quarter decrease of 86%. Year-on-year comparison also showed a fall in the value of outward M&A from £4.5 billion in Quarter 3 2014 to £1.6 billion in Quarter 3 2015, reporting a lower level of decline of approximately 64% (£2.9 billion).

The quarterly estimates for the number and value of disposals of foreign companies made by UK companies (outward disposals) during Quarter 3 2015 have been suppressed in this bulletin to avoid any potential disclosure in this type of M&A activity.

Notable outward transactions valued at £100 million or more, that took place abroad by UK companies in Quarter 3 2015

British American Tobacco Plc of the UK acquired TDR d.o.o. of Croatia.

Bridgepoint Advisers Group Limited of the UK acquired Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB of Sweden.

Ultra Electronics Holdings Plc of the UK acquired the Electronics Products Division of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc of the USA

Zegona Communications Plc of the UK acquired Telecable de Asturias S.A. of Spain

D S Smith Plc of the UK acquired Grupo Lantero's Corrugated Business of Spain

Anglo American Plc of the UK disposed of Anglo American Norte S.A. of Chile.

Bridgepoint Europe IV Nominees of the UK disposed of Infront Sports and Media AG of Switzerland

Additional information

The M&A data and information published in this release only includes data for acquisitions, mergers and disposals which are successfully completed. As part of the production process we also identify announced and agreed M&A transactions. The following notable M&A will feature in future releases:

Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV of Belgium acquiring  SABMiller Plc of the UK.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc acquiring BG Group Plc.

Equinix INC of the USA acquiring Telecity Group Plc of the UK.

BBA Aviation Plc of the UK acquired Landmark Aviation of the USA.

Tesco Plc of the UK disposing of Homeplus Co Ltd of the Republic of Korea.

How our statistics compare with external evidence

Global merger, acquisitions and disposals activity can be driven by the availability of credit. Therefore, when credit conditions deteriorate, as happened in the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn, M&A activity declines. M&A activity can also be interpreted by the economic outlook and company profits, in addition to a range of other economic factors. The process of completing an M&A transaction takes time and sometimes there may be a lag between improving economic conditions and any quarter-on-quarter increase in M&A activity.

M&A can be affected by a number of different economic activities and therefore it is difficult to measure the exact impact of each activity.

The following section is designed to add additional context to the release and includes information taken directly from external sources with relevant hyperlinks provided. 

Ernst & Young Global Ltd (EY) a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services, in their Global Capital Confidence Barometer report for October 2015, reported that executives are proceeding judiciously as they look to M&A for growth. They are conducting more thorough due diligence, including new levels of cyber risk scrutiny. And they are prepared to walk away from transactions that do not meet their strategic goals.

KPMG’S latest Global M&A Predictor report for September 2015 stated that increasing confidence still does not appear to be reflected in actual transaction levels, with both completed deal volumes and values falling in the UK and globally over the 6-month period from January to June 2015.

Mergermarket, in its Monthly M&A Insider report for November 2015, reported that it does seem like global economic uncertainty has affected M&A activity in Europe.

The BoE’s Credit Conditions Survey for Quarter 3 2015 reported that credit availability increased slightly for small businesses, although remained relatively unchanged for medium-sized and larger companies. On the other hand, demand for credit was reported to have increased across all business sizes in Quarter 3 2015. Lenders indicated that mergers and acquisitions, and inventory finance as factors pushing up demand.

The BoE’s Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions for Quarter 3 2015 reported that credit availability for medium and larger corporations was above normal, with terms and rates having eased alongside rising competition. Credit availability for smaller firms had improved and was approaching normal.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in its Forecast Evaluation report for October 2015, stated that the supply of new credit has remained subdued and although lending to households continues to pick up, bank lending to businesses remains weak, having generally fallen year-on-year since the financial crisis.

In addition, the OBR in its November 2015 Economic and Fiscal Outlook, reported that business investment grew relatively strongly in the first 2 quarters of 2015 and expected it to grow by 6.1% in 2015 as a whole. Bank lending to non-financial companies remained subdued however, with the growth in net lending to small and medium-sized enterprises turning positive in the year to September 2015.

Background notes

  1. Overview of Mergers and Acquisitions

    The M&A estimates are analysed and produced to measure investment data for:

    1. investment in the UK by UK companies (Domestic investment)

    2. investment/Disinvestment in the UK by foreign companies (Inward investment/disinvestment)

    3. investment/Disinvestment in foreign companies by UK companies (Outward investment/disinvestment)

    Within ONS, M&A data are essential for producing the National Accounts. The survey results form important components of the UK Balance of Payments and Financial Accounts and are vital in the measurement of the financial and non-financial business sector accounts. M&A data is used in the compilation of the estimates for Foreign Direct Investment and additionally used by other government departments when preparing ministerial briefings. For example, HM Treasury, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Trade & Investment and HM Revenue and Customs. The M&A data estimates are also used by foreign embassies, economists and academics for research purposes and for periodic statistical comparisons.

  2. Your views matter

    We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform our work. Please contact us via email:  m&a@ons.gsi.gov.uk  or telephone  Michael Hardie on +44 (0) 1633 455923

  3. Basic quality information

    The Quality and Methodology Information for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) surveys report describes in detail the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

  4. Relevance to users

    The degree to which the statistical outputs meet users’ needs.

    Within ONS, the mergers and acquisitions data are considered to be essential for producing the National Accounts. The survey results form important components of the UK Balance of Payments and Financial Accounts and are vital in the measurement of the financial and non-financial business sector accounts.

    The Cross-Borders Acquisitions and Mergers survey (M&A) data are used in the compilation of the estimates of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). These data meet the needs of FDI by collecting data on all acquisitions which lead to a holding in excess of 10% of the issued share capital. These estimates then feed into the UK Balance of Payments and the 'Rest of the World' sector of the financial accounts in the National Accounts, for which there is an EU legal requirement. Individual transaction information is also used to estimate the counterpart in 'portfolio' investment flows for monthly Balance of Payments.
     
    The data collected are also used in updating business structures and country of ownership codes on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR).The IDBR is a comprehensive list of UK businesses that is used by government for statistical purposes.

    Elsewhere in government, examples of departments who use the data include:

    • HM Treasury, Economic Analysis Division, where the data are used in preparing briefing and forecasting

    • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, where direct investment data are required for ministerial briefing, parliamentary questions and in formulating trade policy

    • UK Trade and Investment, where the information is used for briefing on the extent to which the UK is successful in attracting inward investment

    • HM Revenue and Customs, where the data are used to help in forecasting company taxation

    Non-government users include:

    • private companies which are interested in analysing country and industry data for trends by foreign firms in the UK and by UK companies abroad and also for researching corporate finance activity and for the purpose of investment banking

    • UK embassies in foreign countries, who are interested in information on specific countries and companies making acquisitions

    • private sector economists, journalists and academics who are interested in information on particular industries and particular countries for research purposes and who use the data for periodic statistical comparisons

    Feedback from users has indicated that the information received from the M&A survey has a high degree of relevance across the above user groups, meets the vast majority of user needs, and all information currently collected and published is used.

    Source of data

    The information collected is based on reports in the financial press, specialist magazines, company and financial websites supplemented by special surveys to businesses to determine the form, value and timing of each transaction.

    If the information is not yet in the public domain, such transactions may not be reflected in the analysis. Where full information has not yet been received on the details of the acquisition or disposal, the value of the transaction indicated in the public domain is used as an interim estimate.

    The data shown in this release relate solely to mergers and acquisitions undertaken by companies: acquisitions by individuals are not included.

    This publication contains data relating mergers, demergers, acquisitions and disposals. Figures relating to mergers are included within acquisitions and those relating to demergers are contained within disposals.

    ONS makes every effort to provide informative commentary on the data in this release. As part of the quality assurance process, individual businesses are contacted in an attempt to capture reasons for large period on period data movements. It can prove difficult to gather detailed reasons from some businesses to help inform the commentary. Frequently, reasons given for data movements refer to a "change in market conditions" or a "restructure of the company". Consequently, it’s not possible for all data movements to be fully explained.

    ONS are aware that a number of users make use of these data for modelling or forecasting purposes. In doing so, it is important that users make note of our revisions policy (see note 7 in the background notes) and that all time series are on a ‘current price’ basis, which means that the values are as they were at the time of measurement and not adjusted for inflation. Acquisitions and disposal activity can be affected by UK and global economic and political issues and therefore quarterly estimates can be volatile.

    One question often asked of the M&A release is "why is there a time delay between the announcement of M&A transactions in the press and the inclusion of these transactions within ONS M&A figures?" The difference is that ONS figures record when a transactions legally completes as opposed to when the transaction has been announced in the press. The complexities surrounding the acquisitions/disposals taking place often incurs a time lag, which can vary between quarters.

  5. Significant transactions

    Significant Transactions tables show the reported figures for a selection of significant transactions which occurred in the quarter, where "significance" is defined as the absolute value of the deal.

    The information shown is taken from each relevant company’s press release which is available within the public domain. A direct link to each press release is provided. Should a company request that details of the transaction be kept confidential then the deal is excluded, however, the values are included in the aggregate tables. Occasionally, therefore, a large deal may be missing (suppressed) from the lists so it is best to regard these tables as an indication of the ranking of deals rather than a completely exhaustive listing.

    Press reported figures for M&A transactions often differ to some extent from those supplied by companies to ONS and it is the latter which are used in compiling statistical aggregates in tables 1-10. Included in the prices quoted in the tables of significant transactions is the total published price paid for the company excluding any assumed debt where known. Deferred payments are included in the reported price even if the payment is made in a different quarter.

  6. Types of transactions covered

    Mergers are acquisitions in which all or part of the payment is made in shares, such that the shareholders of the two companies become shareholders of a new, combined company group.

    Demergers are disposals where a company group divides into two or more separate companies, in such a way that the shareholders of the restructured companies remain the same, or retain the equivalent value shareholding in one of the newly independent companies. Demergers are included in the statistics within disposals.

    Acquisitions are transactions which involve one company purchasing the ordinary shares of a second company ("target  company"). A target company is usually of a smaller size than the company undertaking the purchase.

    Disposal is a term used to describe the action when a company or organisation sells or liquidates the ordinary shares of a second company ("target  company"). 

    Cross-border acquisitions denote transactions where a company in one country acquires, either directly or indirectly, a controlling interest in a company in another country.

    Direct transactions are those where a company acquires a controlling interest in another company.

    Indirect transactions are those where a company uses an existing foreign subsidiary to acquire a controlling interest in a company resident in another country. The acquiring foreign intermediate company may be located in the same country in which the acquisition is being made or in a different country.

    Acquisitions within the UK by other UK companies denote mergers and acquisitions involving only UK registered companies.

    Where the acquired company was a subsidiary of another company the transaction is classified as a sale between company groups.

    The phrase "acquisitions in the UK by UK companies" refer to deals where the ultimate ownership remains in the UK. This heading does not cover the total number or value of deals where a UK company is the acquirer. When a foreign company acquires a UK company through one of its existing UK subsidiaries or a UK registered special purpose vehicle that deal is shown as part of the data under "acquisitions in the UK by foreign companies".

    Acquisition of independent companies

    The acquisition of an independent company means the purchase of a company in its entirety – the company itself and all of its subsidiaries.

    Acquisition of subsidiary companies

    The acquisition of a subsidiary company means the purchase of part of a company.

  7. Financing

    This statistical bulletin provides details of the application of funds to effect mergers and acquisitions and the proceeds raised from disinvestments and demergers.

    For indirect foreign transactions there is the added complication of considering the movements of funds either as capital injection or in the form of loans between parent companies and their foreign subsidiaries making the acquisition. Occasionally, the foreign subsidiary obtains the funds required partly or entirely outside the UK from sources such as:

    • own resources

    • borrowing from banks and other local sources

    • share, bond and other capital or notes issued abroad

    Also, a transaction may be funded by more than one method.

  8. Definitions of geographic areas

    Table A: Definitions of geographic and economic areas.

    Europe
    EU Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia
      Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
      Finland France Germany Greece
      Hungary Irish Republic Italy Latvia
      Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands
      Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia
      Slovenia Spain Sweden  
    Other European Countries Albania Andorra Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Faroe Islands Gibraltar Iceland Liechtenstein
      Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Moldova Montenegro Norway
      Russian Federation San Marino Serbia Switzerland
      Turkey Ukraine UK Offshore Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, other Channel Islands and Isle of Man) Vatican City State
    The Americas      
    Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Aruba Bahamas
    Barbados Belize Bermuda Bolivia Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
    Brazil British Virgin Islands Canada Cayman Islands Chile
    Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Curacao Dominica
    Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Falkland Islands Greenland
    Grenada Guatemala Guyana Haiti Honduras
    Jamaica Mexico Montserrat Nicaragua Panama
    Paraguay Peru St Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia Sint Maarten
    St Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname Trinidad and Tobago Turks and Caicos Islands Uruguay
    US Virgin Islands USA Venezuela    
    Asia      
    Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh
    Bhutan Brunei Darussalam Burma/Myanmar Cambodia China
    Georgia Hong Kong India Indonesia Iran
    Iraq Israel Japan Jordan Kazakhstan
    Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Macao
    Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Nepal North Korea
    Oman Pakistan Palestinian Territory Philippines Qatar
    Saudi Arabia Singapore South Korea Sri Lanka Syria
    Taiwan Tajikistan Thailand Timor - Leste Turkmenistan
    United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Viet Nam Yemen  
    Australasia and Oceania    
    American Samoa Antarctica Australia Bouvet Island Christmas Island
    Cocos (Keeling) Islands Cook Islands French Polynesia French Southern & Antarctic Lands Fiji
    Guam Heard Island and Macdonald Islands Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia, Federated States of
    Nauru New Caledonia New Zealand Niue Norfolk Island
    Northern Mariana Islands Palau Papua New Guinea Pitcairn Samoa
    Solomon Islands South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu
    US Minor Outlying Islands Vanuatu Wallis and Futuna    
    Africa      
    Algeria Angola Benin Botswana British Indian Ocean Territory
    Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic
    Chad Comoros Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) Djibouti
    Egypt Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon
    Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea Bissau Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire)
    Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar
    Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco
    Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda
    Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia
    South Africa South Sudan St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Sudan Swaziland
    Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zambia
    Zimbabwe        

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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  9. Revisions

    Data for Q1 and Q2 2015 have been revised in the light of new information, and so revisions to the data for Q1 and Q2 2015 have been published in this statistical bulletin. No further revisions to data prior to Q1 2015 have been made. Therefore time series data for all quarters of 2014 and any previous historic quarterly periods remain unchanged.

    Annual data tables for 2014 are produced in conjunction with the Q4 2014 data. Revisions to the 2014 quarterly and annual figures were recalculated at Q1 2015 only. Therefore no revisions to annual data prior to 2014 have been made and subsequently time series data for previous historic annual periods remains unchanged.

    Revisions to the aggregates used in M&A principally occur for the following reasons:

    • Completion of transactions:

    On announcement of a proposed transaction an expected completion date is usually given. The publicly reported values will be allocated to the quarter of expected completion. If the transaction is ultimately completed in an earlier or later quarter, the recorded values will be reallocated to the new quarter.

    • Publicly reported values:

    Publicly reported values are initially used to compile the aggregates. These can vary considerably from the values ultimately supplied by the respondents, frequently because the assumption of debt has been included in the publicly reported value. A nominal value is applied if no publicly reported value is available. The final values used to create the aggregates are those supplied by the respondent.

    • Non-completion of transactions:

    On announcement of a proposed transaction the publicly reported value of the transaction is recorded. If the transaction does not subsequently take place the recorded value will be deleted.

    • Non-share transactions:

    On announcement of a proposed transaction it may appear that there will be transactions in the share capital of the companies involved and the publicly reported values will be recorded. If subsequent information contradicts this the recorded values will be amended or deleted.

    • Control:

    On announcement of a proposed transaction it may appear that the transaction will give the purchasing company control of the purchased company, that is, a share ownership of greater than 50%. If subsequent information contradicts this the recorded values will be amended or deleted.

    • Revisions from respondents:

    Very occasionally respondents revise the values that they have previously supplied to ONS. The revised values are those used to create the aggregates.

    Table B: Average revisions, Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2014 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, UK

      First Published Value (Q2 2015) Number in Latest Revised Period (Q3 2015) Average Revision (Q2 2014 to Q3 2015)
    Number of Outward Acquisitions  26 32 6
    Number of Outward Disposals  8 9 5
    Number of Inward Acquisitions  21 27 6
    Number of Inward Disposals  11 11 2
    Number of Domestic Acquisitions  46 53 10

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Table notes:

    1. Quarter 1 is Jan to Mar 2015, Quarter 2 is Apr to June 2015, Quarter 3 is July to Sept 2015.

    2. * Significant revision.

    3. " suppressed.

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    Table C: Average revisions, Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2014 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, UK

    Values quoted in £ million
      First Published Value (Q2 2015) Value in Latest Revised Period (Q3 2015) Average Revision (Q2 2014 to Q3 2015) Average without Regard to Sign (Q2 2014 to Q3 2015)
    Value of Outward Acquisitions                             10,753                           11,080 30 748
    Value of Outward Disposals                               3,600                             3,684 80 995
    Value of Inward Acquisitions                              7,927                             9,736                            1,142                           1,142
    Value of Inward Disposals                               2,528                             2,533 220 220
    Value of Domestic Acquisitions                              2,250                             2,566 246 246

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Table notes:

    1. Quarter 1 is Jan to Mar 2015, Quarter 2 is Apr to June 2015, Quarter 3 is July to Sept 2015.
    2. * Significant revision.
    3. " suppressed.

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    Analysing average revisions between provisional and final estimates can provide an indication of reliability in an initial statistic. Provisional statistics may be based on less information than is available for final statistics as they have been processed more quickly to meet the demand of customers. By looking at these average revisions it can help us determine whether revisions are being made consistently in one direction i.e. if early estimates are consistently under or overestimating the later figures. A test is subsequently performed on these average revisions to determine if they are statistically different from zero. Revisions that are not statistically significant imply that an average revision might be non-zero simply through random effects.

  10. Response rates

    Table D: Response Rates for Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 and Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, UK

    Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions (CBAM) Outwards 
    Statistics of Sample Size – Latest Survey Conducted:
    Reference Period Quarter 2 2015 Quarter 3 2015
    Response Rate (%) 96% 100%
         
    Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions (CBAM) Inwards 
    Statistics of Sample Size – Latest Survey Conducted:
    Reference Period Quarter 2 2015 Quarter 3 2015
    Response Rate (%) 94% 82%
         
    Domestic Mergers and Acquisitions (DAM)
    Statistics of Sample Size – Latest Survey Conducted:
    Reference Period Quarter 2 2015 Quarter 3 2015
    Response Rate (%) 92% 100%

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Table notes:

    1. Previous quarter has been revised, latest quarter is provisional.
    2. Quarter 1 is Jan to Mar 2015, Quarter 2 is Apr to June 2015, Quarter 3 is July to Sept 2015.

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  11. Notes to Tables

    The deal identification threshold was increased at Q1 2010 to a value of £1.0 million from a previous value of £0.1 million. As a consequence there is a discontinuity in the value and number of deals reported from Q1 2010 onwards compared with previous periods.

    Symbols used in the tables are:

    .. Figure suppressed to avoid disclosure of information relating to individual enterprises.
    – Nil or less than half the final digit shown.

    The sum of constituent items in tables may not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

  12. Disclosure

    It is sometimes necessary to suppress figures for certain items in order to avoid disclosing information about an individual business. Further information on why data are suppressed is available in the ONS Disclosure Control Policy.

  13. Office for National Statistics

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to Parliament. ONS is the UK government's single largest statistical producer. It compiles information about the UK's society and economy, and provides the evidence-base for policy and decision-making, the allocation of resources, and public accountability. The Director General of ONS reports directly to the National Statistician who is the Authority's Chief Executive and the Head of the Government Statistical Service.

    The UK Statistics Authority has reviewed this publication in their report: “Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics”: Statistics of International Transactions, which was published on 8 December 2011. This review recommended that the Mergers and Acquisitions estimates be designated as National Statistics, subject to ONS carrying out certain requirements. ONS met all of these requirements on 3 May 2013.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs

    • are well explained and readily accessible

    • are produced according to sound methods

    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  14. Social Media

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    Like ONS on Facebook to receive our updates in your newsfeed and to post comments on our page.

  15. The Government Statistical Service (GSS)

    The Government Statistical Service is a network of professional statisticians and their staff operating both within the Office for National Statistics and across more than 30 other government departments and agencies.

  16. Government Statistical Service (GSS) Business Statistics

    To find out about other official business statistics, and choose the right data for your needs, use the GSS Business Statistics Interactive User Guide. By selecting your topics of interest, the tool will pinpoint publications that should be of interest to you, and provide you with links to more detailed information and the relevant statistical releases. It also offers guidance on which statistics are appropriate for different uses.

  17. Discussing ONS Business Statistics Online

    There is a Business and Trade Statistics community on the StatsUserNet website. StatsUserNet is the Royal Statistical Society’s interactive site for users of official statistics. The community objectives are to promote dialogue and share information between users and producers of official business and trade statistics about the structure, content and performance of businesses within the UK. Anyone can join the discussions by registering via either of the links.

  18. Special Events

    ONS has published commentary, analysis and policy on "Special Events" which may affect statistical outputs. For full details visit the Special Events page on the ONS website.

  19. Release Policy

    Complete runs of series in this release are available to download free of charge at www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/index.html. Alternatively, for low-cost tailored data call Online Services on +44 (0)845 601 3034 or email info@ons.gsi.gov.uk 

    Here are the instructions to obtain a full time series of data from the statistical bulletin or release pages:

    • select "Data in this release"

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  20. Copyright

    © Crown copyright 2015.

    You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

    To view this licence, go to www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU
    email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

    This document is also available on the website at www.ons.gov.uk.

  21. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Michael Hardie +44 (0)1633 455923 International Transaction Branch, Structural and International Statistics Division michael.hardie@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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