Northern PE deals pass £10bn in H1 2021

Andi Tomkinson

Dealmakers in the North of England have remained active during the first half of 2021, with private equity houses completing a total of 30 deals worth £10.4bn.

This is according to data from CMBOR, the Centre for Private Equity and MBO Research, which was re-established within Nottingham University Business School last month.

Funded by Equistone Partners Europe as exclusive sponsor, the research reveals the highest private equity deal volume seen from the regions for more than five years, with the value almost 10 times the £1.9bn completed during the same period last year.

The North West was the most active market for deals in the North, with 15 completed in the first six months of the year. Behind this, Yorkshire saw 11 transactions finalised, followed by four in the North East. On a national scale, London remained the most active deal market with 32, followed by the South East (17), North West, East of England (14) and Yorkshire.

The first half of 2021 represented the most active start to a year for Yorkshire’s private equity community for four years, with the 11 deals completed only bettered by the 12 seen in 2018. This surge in dealmaking followed a slowdown in activity in Q2 2020, with the industry’s initial focus on portfolio support reflected by subsequent historic lows in deal numbers.

Just eight deals were completed in Yorkshire during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. In comparison, deal values have soared from £265m to £7.4bn.

The region also saw the largest transaction seen in the UK this year – the £6.8bn sale of Leeds-headquartered supermarket chain ASDA by Walmart to a consortium led by TDR Capital and the Issa Brothers, the owners of EG Group. Alongside this, Castleford-based Premier Technical Services Group, the provider of equipment, lighting protection and electrical testing completed its £125m sale to Macquarie in June.

Andi Tomkinson, partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “The light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic has driven a huge amount of private equity interest across the North of England, which is highlighted by the record start to 2021. We are now seeing transactions with even stronger valuations and a real focus on growth once again.

“With the region’s strongholds in growth sectors that are likely to be in huge demand over the coming months, we expect to see transaction volumes and values continue to climb as private equity looks to invest the record levels of capital that are available.”

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