Corporate finance and M&A advisors compete for Yorkshire Awards

13 November 2017 5 min. read

The Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) scene of Yorkshire is performing well at present, with the region’s businesses completing over 300 deals worth around £4 billion over the last year. In order to celebrate the booming industry’s achievements, the Yorkshire Dealmakers Awards have announced the shortlist for their annual award ceremony, which features 11 professional services firms.

Prior to 30th September, Yorkshire dealmakers completed a huge 326 M&A transactions, with an accumulative deal value of £4 billion. This represented an uptick of 43% from last year’s £2.8 billon haul, and was in-keeping with a Europe-wide trend that saw deal volume decrease, while value increased.

The number of deals being undertaken in Yorkshire has dropped dramatically, by as much as 27% per cent, down from the 447 completed during the same period in 2016. Despite this, year-on-year deal values rose to £4 billion. The £750 million acquisition of vehicle leasing business Zenith Group by private equity group Bridgepoint is the biggest deal so far this year, followed by the recent QHotels deal.

Professional services firms, particularly from the Big Four, performed well in the regional market. Deloitte topped the financial advisor table in terms of volume, having worked on nine deals. PwC, Grant Thornton, KPMG and Dow Schofield Watts made up the top five. In terms of value, however, KPMG was top, having worked on deals worth £1.4 billion – over a quarter of Yorkshire’s total deal value. Both KPMG and Deloitte were involved in the largest deal of the year – that of Zenith’s £750 million acquisition by Bridgepoint – along with EY, L.E.K., OC&C, Evercore, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Sidley Austin, Squire Patton Boggs, Investec, White & Case, ERM, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds.

Deloitte - PwC - KPMG - Mazars and EY

In order to celebrate the achievements of Yorkshire’s dealmakers, after another bumper year, the Yorkshire Dealmaker Awards are set to commemorate corporate finance advisors, investment bankers, private equity group, law firms, M&A consultants and tax advisors, at their annual ceremony. Some 11 consulting and professional service firms are listed for accolades, alongside top private equity, law and corporate finance firms.

Insider Media’s Yorkshire Dealmakers Awards have been a part of Yorkshire's corporate finance community calendar since 1999, and the ceremony to announce the winners will take place in Leeds’ New Dock Hall on 23rd November.

Leading the charge for the professional service industry were Deloitte, with six nominations, followed by PwC on four, and KPMG and Mazars on three each. Mazars are a particularly well-known brand in the region, thanks in part to their continued sponsorship of the kit of the Yorkshire County Cricket team – the most successful club in English history. Other firms who made the cut were EY, OC&C, Grant Thornton, RSM, LEK, and corporate finance firms Livingstone Partners and Sentio.

Top deals

In the category for Deal of the Year worth over £25 million, the previously mentioned Zenith deal will compete with the acquisition of MKM by Bain Capital, advised on by PwC, and also including OC&C, alongside Rothschild, Addleshaw Goddard, Moelis & Company, Ropes & Gray. Another deal involving PwC is also up for the award, with the B&M acquisition of Heron Foods, advised by Deloitte, Merrill Lynch, Addleshaw Goddard, Gordons, and Andrew Jackson vies for recognition, along with the Pelsis Managerial Buy Out (MBO), which again involved Deloitte, alongside LDC, Squire Patton Boggs, Walker Morris, Park Place, BlueBay Asset Management and RBS.

OC&C,RSM, Grant Thornton, LEK, Livingstone Partners, Sentio

For Deal of the Year worth under and up to £25 million, however, the Big Four saw its presence reduced, with mid-market players less inclined to pay their up-scaled fees, and opting more often for their smaller competitors. While KPMG were again represented for the Sewtec MBO deal – which also involved Endless, Squire Patton Boggs, Mazars Corporate Finance and Gordons – and PwC were involved in the Clearly Drinks MBO, alongside Grant Thornton, NorthEdge, Bond Dickinson, CIL, Henderson, Syngroup, Livingstone Partners, DWF and Saffery Champness, two deals involved none of the gang of four. The Sirdar acquisition, advised on by RSM along with BlueGem Capital Partners, Squire Patton Boggs, and the Bridge acquisition involving work from DSW, Walker Morris, did not engage with any of the world’s largest advisories.

KPMG and PwC did return to the nominations with the Exit of the Year category, however. The Go Outdoors – YFM exit involved KPMG and Addleshaw Goddard, while the MKM – 3i and LDC exit saw PwC and strategy consultants OC&C work with Rothschild, Addleshaw Goddard, Moelis & Company and Ropes and Gray.

National/International Deal of the Year meanwhile saw Deloitte and Mazars add to their nominations. The Pelsis MBO saw Deloitte work with LDC, Squire Patton Boggs, Walker Morris, park Place, BlueBay Asset Management and RBS, while Mazars were commended for their work alongside Squire Patton Boggs for the Scotch Frost acquisition.

Teams and individuals

The Corporate Finance Advisory Team of the Year shortlist saw Deloitte joined by corporate finance firm Sentio, as well as Rothschild and DSW. A Deloitte employee was also nominated for the Dealmaker of the Year award, with Dan Renton, director in the Corporate Finance arm of the firm going up against Mazars M&A partner Rob Burton, Dan Sheahan, managing director at Investec Bank and Stephen Griffiths, managing director at Rothschild for the honours.

Grant Thornton added to their awards night presence with a nomination for Emerging Dealmaker of the Year. Duncan Morpeth, associate director at Grant Thornton was shortlisted alongside Dan Smith, investment manager at LDC, and Amy Wells, assistant director at Rothschild.