UK-based merger & acquisition market in the mid-market segment totalled $60.7 billion in 2014, a 21% increase year-on-year. PwC, BDO, KPMG and Rothschild are with more than 70 deals each the largest M&A advisors in the UK for deals valued up to $500 million. Advisory firms dominate the top 10.
Every year analyst firm Thomson Reuters and consultancy Freeman Consulting conduct research into the state of the global M&A market. The latest data shows that 2014 was a strong year for corporate finance and financial advisors, both globally as well as in the UK. The global M&A market grew from $741 billion to $920 billion (+24%) while the value of UK-based mergers & acquisition activity jumped by 21%, from $50 billion to $60.7 billion, accounting for 7% of the global market. The number of deals grew by 10%, lower relative to deal value, highlighting the trend towards higher average deal values.
The Real Estate sector comprised 23% of announced value, followed by Financials, and Industrials, which represented 15% and 12% of the total market, respectively. Telecom saw the lowest number of deal activity, representing 2.5% of the pie.
Top 50 dealmakers
From a dealmaker perspective, the large, well-known accounting and consulting giants lead the pack, holding eight of the top ten positions. PwC can call itself the market leader with 89 deals, followed by BDO – the #1 of 2013 – with 87 deals. KPMG manages to retain third spot with 74 completed mergers & acquisitions, followed closely by investment bank Rothschild. The top 10 in addition includes the Corporate Finance practices of EY, Grant Thornton, Mazars, Baker Tilly and Deloitte.
From a fee viewpoint the independent consultants not surprisingly trail the investment bankers, with Goldman Sachs (#7 in number of deals) earning $83 million in fees, more than ten times more than EY and Grant Thornton with a lower number of deals*. Also JP Morgan, Lazard and Rothschild outperform the M&A consultants by a wide margin when it comes to advisor fees. BDO’s performance is noteworthy, the business advisory charged $40 million in fees, three times the amount invoiced by PwC, on the back of a lower number of transactions.
The top 50 contains several other firms /partnerships active in the consulting industry, including DC Advisory (#22), Benchmark International (#23), Clairfield International (#27) and Global M&A (#35).
* Number of deals is based on announced deal activity, while fees are based on completed deal activity.