Value of private equity deals rises 9%

X The Business Desk

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THE value of private equity-backed deals in the North West rose by 9% to £1.82bn in 2014.

The latest figures, from the Centre for Management Buyout Research, and sponsored by EY and Equistone Partners Europe, show half came from seven deals in the final quarter – the highest quarterly total since the start of 2013.

However, the number of deals fell by 15% to 29, down from 34 a year earlier.

Big deals in the fourth quarter included the £500m management buyout of Nelson telecoms group Daisy, Equistone’s investment in Bolton-based Travel Counsellors, and the secondary buyout at Cheadle-based Character World. But the figures also included De Vere’s sale of its Village Urban Resorts business which has nine of its 28 sites in the North West.

The North West was the third best performing region by volume and value, behind London and the South East. The total UK buyout value slipped 1% to £14.98bn in 2014, while the number of deals rose 11% to 214.

Meanwhile, the resurgent IPO market supported the largest annual total exit value ever recorded in the North West at £5.54bn, which was more than quadruple the £1.07bn recorded in 2013. This performance was underpinned by the £1bn+ flotations of, B&M Bargains and Pets At Home, which provided exits for Clayton Dubilier & Rice, and Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts respectively.

Mark Clephan, corporate finance director at EY in the North West, said: “The North West buyout market had a robust 2014 thanks to an end-of-year boost from mid-market and lower mid-market deal activity, as well as favourable debt market conditions and well-capitalised private equity firms investing during the year.

Steve O’Hare, Partner at Equistone Partners Europe in the North West, added: “The North West is a great place to do business and M&A activity is centred on having good relationships with the corporate finance and investment community. This drives competition for quality assets and helps to create a healthy flow of deals.”