Yorkshire buyout industry bounces back, following 'challenging years'

Private equity deal-making in Yorkshire and the Humber is showing signs of recovery after a slowdown in 2023, according to new data.

The study from CMBOR, the Centre for Private Equity and MBO Research, found there were 13 buyouts in Yorkshire and the Humber in the first half of 2024 with an aggregate value of £219m, compared to seven buyouts in the first half of 2023 and 10 buyouts in the second half of 2023.

Despite this increase in volume, the value of deals in the region dropped slightly from £263m in the first half 2023.

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A spokesman said: “The data is reflective of an increased interest in dealmaking in the North, with one Yorkshire and the Humber deal included in the UK’s top 25 – GBUK’s exit from its investment in H2 Equity Partners

Andi Tomkinson, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “It is encouraging to see buyout activity recovering in the region in the first half of the year, which is indicative of a nationwide increase in activity, with a drop in ‘mega deals’ contributing to a slight decrease in the value of deals." (Photo by Piranha Photography)Andi Tomkinson, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “It is encouraging to see buyout activity recovering in the region in the first half of the year, which is indicative of a nationwide increase in activity, with a drop in ‘mega deals’ contributing to a slight decrease in the value of deals." (Photo by Piranha Photography)
Andi Tomkinson, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “It is encouraging to see buyout activity recovering in the region in the first half of the year, which is indicative of a nationwide increase in activity, with a drop in ‘mega deals’ contributing to a slight decrease in the value of deals." (Photo by Piranha Photography)

“The North of England as a whole was once again the UK’s most active area outside London, with 28 transactions completing across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber in H1 (the first half) of 2024. However, deal value still lagged behind that of London, totalling £1bn across the North compared with £5.8bn in London.

"However, deal value in the North of England was higher than the South East for another year, with deal value in this region totalling £528m.”

The Centre for Private Equity and MBO Research (CMBOR) is based at Nottingham University Business School and co-funded by Equistone Partners Europe.

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Commenting on the research, Andi Tomkinson, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, said: “It is encouraging to see buyout activity recovering in the region in the first half of the year, which is indicative of a nationwide increase in activity, with a drop in ‘mega deals’ contributing to a slight decrease in the value of deals.

“We are expecting the increase in activity we’ve seen so far to continue into the rest of 2024.

"We have completed a number of deals in Yorkshire over recent years, including Ligentia and Nexus Vehicle Rental, and there are many more ambitious management teams that are looking for investment to help grow and scale their businesses.”

The UK has remained Europe’s largest and most active market, with 95 buyouts valued at £13.8bn.

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"The UK is routinely the biggest and most active European private equity market, even when facing political upheaval, and has consolidated its position with this latest strong set of numbers," said Professor Kevin Amess, Director of CMBOR at Nottingham University Business School.

“In France, by contrast, political uncertainty often delays M&A (merger and acquisition) activity, so its own snap general election may act as a further drag on French buyout values in what has already been a quiet year.”

The healthcare sector performed strongly on both the buyout and exit side, with 20 buyouts valued at €8.0bn, almost equalling the 2023 full-year total of €8.9bn already.

The data compiled by CMBOR summarises trends in buyouts across Europe.

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CMBOR defines buyouts as more than 50 per cent of shares changing ownership with management or private equity, or both having a controlling stake upon deal completion.

Equity funding must primarily be from private equity funds and the bought-out company must have its own financing structure.

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