Blog: Dean BestUK M&A deal volumes slide in early months of 2017

Dean Best | 22 May 2017

Fresh data from Grant Thornton indicates the number of mergers and acquisitions in the UK food and drink sector fell to the lowest level for over two years in the first quarter of in 2017 - but the accountancy and advisory firm has insisted the amount of M&A activity remains "healthy".

Grant Thornton said there were 41 transactions during the opening three months of the year, down 28% on the first quarter of 2016 and the lowest seen since the third quarter of 2014.

However, Grant Thornton insisted the fall was a reflection of the "increased uncertainty" seen among businesses in the UK as the hedging on currencies came to an end during the quarter and companies weighed up how the fall in sterling since the country voted for Brexit would affect them.

The firm said: "Our own recent experience is that activity levels remain healthy – Grant
Thornton completed four deals for clients in the first week of April alone."

In its analysis of the transactions in the UK food and drink sectors did see during the first quarter of 2017, Grant Thornton rightly highlighted the number of deals seen recently in the sports nutrition market, with the likes of Associated British Foods, Glanbia and Lion Capital closing transactions in the category.

Glanbia has long been building its business in sports nutrition but ABF's move to acquire two companies in the sector caught the eye.

Read ABF finance director John Bason discuss with just-food why the UK group snapped up sports nutrition firms H5 Ltd and Reflex Nutrition here.

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