Corporate finance

A review of corporate finance deals in 2015

Andy Morgan Andy Morgan

Our ‘Leading the way’ brochure takes a look at the corporate finance deals we advised on throughout 2015 and our views on the industry for 2016.

A stable political backdrop and supportive financial and economic conditions underpinned a strong level of M&A in the second half of the year. We remain optimistic that deal activity will remain buoyant in the coming 12 months although are mindful of growing geopolitical risks.

2015 in review

Both economic and political factors contribute to creating a positive deal-making environment. In the first part of 2015, political uncertainty ahead of the UK General Election weighed on the level of M&A activity. However, post-election deal activity rebounded sharply with the market enjoying a very strong run of opportunities and deal completions through the end of the third quarter.

Although the pace of activity slowed somewhat into the end of the year, we are confident that the UK’s stable political backdrop and improving economy will underpin a strong level of M&A in the coming year.

Brexit and geopolitical risks

While the potential for a UK exit from the EU remains a background risk that could adversely affect the country’s attractiveness, the UK remains a great place to deploy capital, for both domestic and international investors. The pool of capital available to be put to work is deep, with debt funds, family offices and other institutional investors active alongside corporate and private equity operators.

Geopolitical risks from outside the UK, however, are increasing. The start of the year has been marked by rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and further terrorist attacks around the globe following on from last November’s attacks in Paris. Conflict in the Middle East is also driving the flow of refugees into Europe, which is likely to increase support for non-mainstream political parties and fuel political tensions within Europe.

Private and public institutions in the UK should be mindful of not letting growing geopolitical concerns hinder efforts to attract and retain top international talent.

Keeping the UK competitive

As long as the UK continues to promote innovative and creative industries it will remain competitive on a global basis as an investment destination.

There is always room for improvement and more could be done to narrow the gap with the US with respect to promoting early-stage investment. Corporations, government and educational institutions need to continue to work together to foster an investment community that can inject capital into smaller fast-growing businesses.

Grant Thornton’s approach

Against this positive backdrop Grant Thornton has enjoyed a successful year. We believe that our success is based on the distinctive qualities that differentiate us from our competitors.

The first is our team’s deep sector knowledge across a wide range of industries and over the course of the year we have continued to invest in senior people to strengthen our capabilities. Our team’s in-depth knowledge of key sector value drivers and extensive connections with industry decision-makers allow us to open doors for our corporate and private equity clients.

Our strength is also based on the range of our global network, which provides dealmakers with fast-track access to international, as well as UK, buyers and vendors. When to make an approach can be as important as whom to approach and we use the strength of our network to access the right contacts at the right time.

Our approach is highly collaborative, focused exclusively on achieving our clients’ goals. Listening to and understanding what our clients want is at the core of what we do. We work with clients from the outset of the deal process providing insight to prepare both the business and stakeholders for the transaction.

Our expertise creates tangible value for our clients. During 2015, on sell-side mandates we have consistently exceeded clients’ value expectations. Compared with base-level expectations, our corporate finance team has regularly achieved higher sale proceeds for vendors. We are delighted that our clients value our contribution. For the fourth year in succession, Grant Thornton has been ranked number one corporate finance adviser in the UK by Experian CorpFin.

In the coming year we look forward to using these qualities to help all our clients find innovative solutions to finance their growth and realise their strategic ambitions.

Download our ‘Leading the way’ brochure to see the deals we advised on in 2015.

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