Accountancy firm Grant Thornton retained its position as the leading financial adviser to UK companies by deal volume with its total rising to 121 last year – including an acquisition by Wiltshire-based The Consortium.
It is the second year the firm has topped the annual Experian Corpfin ranking and was achieved despite the total volume of industry deals falling by 3% last year.
Busiest sectors last year for Grant Thornton, which covers the region its base in Bristol, were technology (30 deals), consumer (21) and manufacturing and industrial (26).
Investment into the UK accounted for a quarter of all deals last year, suggesting that the UK is still perceived as a safe haven for investors compared to other European markets.
Among the deals Grant Thornton’s West corporate finance team advised on last year were:
• the acquisition of West Mercia Supplies from its four local authority owners, by Trowbridge care and education supplies business The Consortium.
• the MBO at Barnstaple-based Phoenix Learning and Care, which specialises in residential care and education services for young people with special educational needs
• the disposal by DAF and Fiat trucks dealer Watts Group, based in Lydney, Gloucestershire, of four truck centres to Imperial Commercials
The firm’s West head of corporate finance Mark Naughton said: “It is not surprising to see technology, manufacturing and industrial companies continuing to forge deals as they are heavily reliant on technical expertise, research and development and intellectual property, areas where UK companies have strong offerings.
“Mergers and acquisitions enable companies to acquire new assets or sell off non-core ones to release funds. For consumer markets, the acquisition of highly valued brands remains an effective way of entering new markets and pursuing targeted growth.”
Geoff Davies, head of corporate finance at Grant Thornton, added: “Despite economic conditions remaining tough throughout 2012, we have grown our market share and are delighted to be confirmed as the number one deal advisers by reported volume of deals.
“The UK has strong, established businesses and continues to be seen as a safe entry point to access European markets. This is making the UK an attractive investment market and contributing to the number of cross-border deals we’ve advised on.”
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