UK Business Transactions Update – May 2021

UK Business Transactions Update – May 2021

Thursday, 08 July 2021

UK Business Transactions Update – May 2021

The number of UK businesses sold in May 2021 remained stable after a bumper start to the year. With just under 400 transactions recorded in the month, market activity is still far in excess of the same month in 2020 (176 deals) but has comfortably fallen back to normality.

UK M&A Volumes (Source: MarktoMarket)


The Headlines

The biggest reported deal of the month was the Clayton, Dubilier & Rice acquisition of business process and outsourcing business UDG Healthcare for an estimated £2.6 billion. Also featuring near the top of the deal list, but perhaps a slightly more recognisable name, was private healthcare business Spire Healthcare’s disposal to Australian based Ramsay Health Care for just a touch under £1 billion. 

East Anglian view

Focusing on the east, business activity remains very high. Buyers remain the drivers in the market leading to numerous off-market approaches (where buyers reach out with offers to businesses not actively looking to sell). Whilst this can lead to great success, it does leave the sellers unprepared for a sale and often at a deal value below what could be achieved on the open market.

Larking Gowen’s Corporate Transactions team remain busy, with numerous active business disposals in progress. Our Acquisition Watching Brief, our list of active buyers in the area, continues to grow and demand is high for the right business in almost every sector.


With further lockdown easing imminent and revised GDP growth for the year higher than expected, all indicators point towards growing business confidence which almost always results in higher acquisition demand. With the average business disposal taking between 6 – 9 months to complete we are also fast approaching the window for deals to complete before a March/April 2022 budget and possible tax rise.

If you are considering your exit options, actively looking for a business to acquire or simply want to find out more about the M&A market for your industry and area we can help.  Please get in touch with your usual Larking Gowen contact, or contact Will Gibbs, Corporate Transactions Executive, by email:

Data provided by MarktoMarket – UK M&A data and analytics platform. All data is reported in the subsequent months when readily available.


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