Press releases

US M&A dealmakers pause on UK acquisitions

12 February 2018

  • H2 2017 saw a decrease of 13.8% in M&A deals from US buyers into the UK compared to H2 2016
  • In the same time period, UK buyers did 23.9% more deals in the US

US buyers acquired 156 UK companies in the second half of 2017, down 13.8% on the 181 deals done in the second half of 2016. However, interest remained strong from UK buyers in the other direction, with the UK acquiring 109 US companies in the second half of 2017, up 23.9% on the 88 deals done in H2 2016. This trend is reflected over the full year, with US acquisitions in the UK down 11.3% but up 21.3% for UK acquirers over in the States.

The value of disclosed M&A deals between the US and the UK reached US $36.9 billion in the second half of 2017. This was made up of $23.3 billion of deals from US buyers here and $13.6 billion from UK buyers in the US, all according to the latest US/UK M&A Deal Monitor from Deloitte, published today.

Cahal Dowds, vice-chairman of Deloitte UK, comments: “US dealmakers are pausing for breath on UK acquisitions as tax laws take effect there and they observe the progress of Brexit over here. This means the world’s largest bilateral deal corridor by value is still intact, but the activity is shifting over to UK acquirers buying in the States. UK buyers clearly see the US as the place with growth potential, favouring it over China and India.

“Given the relative size of the economies (with the US alone being six times bigger than the UK) the interest from UK acquirers is significant and I would expect activity to continue in both directions. Despite a short term pause from US acquirers, the fundamentals remain in place.

“In a low interest rate environment there are still vast amounts of corporate cash reserves and funds from private equity to be deployed. January produced a very strong month for M&A globally but market volatility has returned to the stock market after a long period of steady growth. Time will tell if this is a widely anticipated correction, or a cause for alarm.”

By sector TMT remains by far the strongest by volume, with 68 deals into the UK from US buyers and 38 from the UK to the US in the second half of last year.

Cahal Dowds concludes: “Driving Fuelling activity is the need for companies to capture the benefits of new data technology capability by acquiring it. The continuing need for businesses to move their operations onto digital platforms and to acquire and manage customer data is proving much stronger and more durable than short term cycles of activity when it comes to driving M&A. If you have a technology need in your product lines, then today is a great opportunity to find a company that can solve that. Developments in big data, alongside a virtually unlimited data storage capacity, have both impacted the M&A markets.

“There remains high confidence in the global M&A market, but it is getting harder to ‘buy well.’ With fierce competition driving high valuations, for many M&A is no longer second best to organic growth, but a primary growth strategy.” 


Methodology: Data in the Deloitte M&A Deal Monitor are based on deal volumes and values in Thomson One Banker and Deloitte analysis. Deal value calculations are based on M&A deals for which value is disclosed –values are not disclosed for a significant proportion of M&A deals.

All value and volume calculations are based on announced deals which may not be completed; value calculations are based on deals for which value is disclosed, while volume calculations are based on all announced deals whether or not value is disclosed.

The Deal Monitor includes volume and value data for the most recent eight quarters; in this edition data run from Q1 2016 to Q4 2017 inclusive. These findings are taken from the fifth edition of the “Deloitte US/UK M&A Deal Monitor” report, which is available from Deloitte.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

Did you find this useful?