Brexit bites as cross-border deals fall 60% to £2.3bn

The volume and value of cross-border corporate transactions in the North West of England fell in 2019, with 96 deals completed worth £2.29 billion, according to Deloitte.

Research conducted in partnership with Experian MarketiQ revealed that while this a 20% drop on the 120 deals seen in 2018, deal values fell more than 60% from the £6.54 billion from the previous year as the Brexit deadline closed in.

Inbound investments were healthier than outbound, with 51 deals completed worth £1.01 billion.

This was down from 77 deals in 2018 valued at £1.41 billion.

Outbound transactions volumes saw a slight rise on the previous year from 43 to 45, but values dropped from £5.13 billion to £1.28 billion.

The final quarter of the year saw 14 North West companies acquire overseas assets, worth £250 million.

Five of these deals involved a US target.

There were six deals in Europe (Sweden, Romania, Portugal, France, Spain and the Netherlands), two in Asia (Japan and India) and one in Australia.

Most notable deals during this period include the City Football Group’s acquisition of Mumbai City FC, adding to its global portfolio of football clubs including Manchester City FC, New York City FC and Girona.

In December, metal technology manufacturer Bodycote completed a £154 million acquisition of US-based Ellison Surface Technologies.

Olly Tebbutt, partner at Deloitte in the North West, said: “Given the proximity of the Brexit deadline, it is perhaps unsurprising to see deal values and volumes fall over the course of the last year.

“However, as the results of Deloitte’s latest CFO Survey shows, the result of the latest election has driven business confidence up to record levels.

“This is as much a factor for overseas investors as it is in the UK, and we are confident that we will see a rise in activity as our position in Europe becomes clearer over the coming months.”