Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) were down across the board with the number of deal s and their value between January and March for this year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The largest recorded drop was in the value of foreign companies buying British firms which was £6.3bn compared to £38.8bn the previous quarter.
During the same quarter in 2018 the UK saw £25.5bn worth of deals finalised. Over half of this year’s first quarter total was due to Coca-Cola’s £3.9bn takeover of the coffee chain Costa Coffee that was completed in January.
During the first quarter takeovers from foreign companies were valued at £5.4bn, down by almost half compared to the same period last year of £10.5bn, and lower than £6.1bn recorded this time in 2018 for the same period.
The first quarter included the £4bn GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of America’s Tesaro, whilst domestic deals reached only £1.4bn which is the lowest since the final two quarters in 2015.
Mark Collings, chief commercial officer of debt finance platform CODE Investing, said this shows the “brutal” impact of Brexit.
Collings said, “M&A activity is a barometer of business confidence and on this evidence the impact of Brexit in the first three months of the year was nothing short of brutal.
“If proof were needed that Brexit has caused major corporates to put big decisions on hold, then the bleak M&A data for the first quarter is it.”