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    A new dawn for M&A in the North West

    Over the past year, the North West has seen a significant increase in deal activity as the economy has experienced recent investment and growth.

    Overseas buyers have also registered a considerable amount of interest in businesses within the region. For example, Ingevity Corporation, a carbon materials and chemicals manufacturer based in the USA, have bought Warrington-based chemicals manufacturer Perstorp UK, in a deal worth £508 million.

    This deal is just one of many that shows the trend of overseas investors becoming interested in companies based in the North West. Within the last 12 months, 445 deals have taken place involving North West-based targets, according to Zephyr.

    The region is particularly well known for sectors such as warehousing and manufacturing. The manufacturing industry was the North West’s busiest region in 2018 in terms of deal activity, with an 8% increase in deal volume, when compared to 2017.

    The largest deal that took place in the North West was the announcement that Merseyside-registered Unilever plc will acquire the nutrition business of GlaxoSmithKline plc, in a deal worth £3.1bn.

    This increase in deal activity comes as the region sees a number of investment commitments made. In January, Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced the new Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which promises to bring growth and innovation across the region. The framework draws out a plan to create over 50,000 affordable homes, 31 million sq ft of office space and 45 million sq ft of industrial and warehousing space, providing the necessary resources and space for existing businesses to expand and for new businesses to establish themselves within the region.

    Heading further West, Lancashire is also seeing economic upturn with Boost Business Lancashire announcing they have a further £6 million to invest in businesses based in the area. Boost Business Lancashire provide on-going business support services to high-growth businesses and start-ups, assisting over 600 businesses in its 6 years of operation, which has in turn generated over 1,300 jobs in the county.

    The future looks bright for the North West, with commitments from large companies to continually invest in the region. BT employ over 8,000 people across the North West and spend £416 million with suppliers in the region each year, contributing massively to the general economy and supporting growth across a variety of sectors.

    At KBS Corporate, we are experiencing this economic growth in the region first-hand, with our Regional Directors seeing increased levels of activity both between North West companies and an increase in interest in North West-based companies from all corners of the globe.

    Chris Williams, our North West Regional Corporate Director, commented, “It is great to see the region flourishing. Recently, I have seen a number of North West businesses show high levels of growth, and they are attracting interest from right across the globe. What is most interesting, is that both private equity and trade buyers are interested in North West companies, across a wide variety of sectors. I feel the North West now offers a real alternative to London-based investments, as the region’s cities develop and more companies choose to be headquartered here.”


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