Carlyle Group’s deal for the FTSE 250-listed group today takes the total spent in private equity-backed mergers & acquisitions (M&A) since the start of last year up to £37bn, based on data from Dealogic shared with the Daily Mail.
The number of deals is now 124, if Vectura is added to the Dealogic calculations.
It comes a week after private equity giant KKR swooped to buy infrastructure firm John Laing for £2bn.
Since the start of the year, remote power provider Aggreko agreed to be taken private for £2.3bn (though this may prove problematic), Signature Aviation for £3.5bn by a consortium including private equity interests, and security group G4S has been snapped up by a private equity-owned rival for £3.8bn.
Asda’s near-£7bn takeover was completed in February, with a consortium including the Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital.
Despite the ongoing recovery in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, the continuing stream of bid suggests people are still seeing plenty of value in UK companies, with valuations still seemingly depressed by the pandemic and lingering Brexit concerns.
With an estimated US$1.6 trillion backlog of dry powder still burning a hole across the private equity industry’s pockets, there is no reason why many more UK firms will not continue to be snapped up.
Next in line could be share registrar Equiniti PLC (LON:EQN), which is currently mulling a purported sixth bid from PE group Siris, and St. Modwen Properties PLC (LON:SMP), where the board said it would be amenable to a deal after receiving an approach about a potential £1.2bn deal from Blackstone.
Private equity firm Cinven or a rival may be a return for Sanne Group PLC (LON:SNN) after the provider of asset management services two weeks ago rejected a takeover offer that valued the company at £1.3bn.
There could also be action at J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY), with takeover speculation swirling as a mysterious continental billionaire has upped his stake, and at ITV PLC (LON:ITV), where interest in the shares has distinctly cooled yet the content wars between the likes of Netflix, Disney and Amazon are getting ever hotter.
Other potential targets might include other companies with reliable cash flows and undemanding valuations.
The average premium to the share price for bids for UK listed companies over the six months to early May is around 36%, according to research by AJ Bell across successful, ongoing and even failed approaches.
“The number of bids, and the premium, suggests that someone, somewhere – be they trade or financial buyers – feel UK companies are still going cheap, with overseas buyers potentially attracted by how the pound still stands below the levels reached just ahead of the Brexit vote five years ago,” AJ Bell analysts said.
Six months of bids (private equity, trade sales and others)
Date – Company – Suitor/buyer
26-May Vectura Carlyle Group
26-May Spire Healthcare Ramsay Health Care
17-May Immunodiagnostic Systems PerkinElmer
14-May Sanne Group Cinven
07-May St Modwen Blackstone
06-May John Laing KKR
06-May Bacanora Lithium Gangfeng
19-Apr EquinitiSiris Capital
09-Apr GYG Harwood Group
24-Mar Gamesys Bally’s
23-Mar Tavistock Investments TEAM
18-Mar Trans-Siberian Gold Horvik
05-Mar Aggreko TDR, I Squared
08-Mar ADES International Innovative Energy, Saudi PIF and Zamil
26-Feb RDI REIT Starwood Advisers
08-Feb Nucleus Financial James Hay
08-Feb Arrow Global TDR Capital
05-Feb Aggreko TDR Capital / Isquared Capital
05-Feb French Connection Go Global +
01-Feb Innovaderma Creightons (2-for-3)
27-Jan Scapa Schweitzer-Mauduit
25-Jan AFH Financial Flexpoint
17-Dec Signature Aviation Global Infras Partners / Blackstone
11-Dec Calisen BlackRock / Mubadala
10-Dec Applegreen B&J / Blackstone Infrastructure
07-Dec IMImobile Cisco
04-Dec Hunters Property Property Franchise
25-Nov GoCo Future
25-Nov AA Towerbrook / Warburg Pincus
09-Nov Countrywide Connells
06-Nov Codemasters Electronic Arts
06-Nov Urban & Civic Wellcome Trust
06-Nov Sportech TBC
05-Nov RSA Intact / Tryg
03-Nov G4S Allied Universal
02-Nov LiDCO Masimo
02-Nov Horizon Discovery Perkin Elmer
|Ramsay Health Care|
|TDR, I Squared|
|Innovative Energy, Saudi PIF and Zamil|
|TDR Capital / Isquared Capital|
|Go Global plus two others (TBC)|
|Global Infras Partners / Blackstone|
|BlackRock / Mubadala|
|B&J / Blackstone Infrastructure|
|Towerbrook / Warburg Pincus|
|Urban & Civic|
|Intact / Tryg|