UK food M&A market ‘attractive’ despite Brexit uncertainty

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

The UK market remains good value for investors despite Brexit and the upcoming general election
The UK market remains good value for investors despite Brexit and the upcoming general election

Related tags Finance

The UK food market remains “very attractive” after two major UK manufacturing M&A deals, involving Bakkavor and Valeo Foods, topped the list of industry activity in September, with the sector totalling £615.66m in value.

Experts have highlighted the strength of the UK sector as a result of the falling value of Sterling following the release of the latest figures from GlobalData’s deals database.

Total food industry M&A deals in September 2019 worth $679.9m were announced globally, according to GlobalData’s deals database.

The value marked a decrease of 63.4% over the previous month and a drop of 59.9% when compared with the last 12-month average, which stood at $1.69bn.

Comparing deals value in different regions of the globe, Europe held the top position, with total announced deals in the period worth $855.69m. At the country level, however, the UK topped the list in terms of deal value at $615.72m.

The leading deals were the Bakkavor Holding Scottish Salmon deal, worth around £500m alone. This was followed by Valeo Foods’ acquisition of snack brand Kettle Foods from US-based Campbell Soup Company, in a deal worth £66m.

In terms of volumes, Europe again emerged as the top region for food industry M&A deals globally, followed by North America and then Asia-Pacific.

The top country in terms of M&A deals activity in September 2019 was the UK with six deals, followed by the US with five and Canada with three.

In 2019, as of the end of September 2019, food M&A deals worth $14.99bn were announced globally, marking a decrease of 53.9% year on year.

Corporate finance director at law firm Rollits Julian Wild told Food Manufacture​ that this was a positive sign, as ongoing Brexit negotiations and uncertainty continue to plague many firms’ planning and business activity.

Interesting that Europe top globally and UK leads in Europe​,” he said.  “This is despite all Brexit uncertainty. It suggests that UK is still a very attractive place to invest and the depressed level of sterling makes the UK great value for overseas investors.  

“We are seeing continued interest from other European countries. I am generally optimistic that activity will continue at a good level and, once Brexit is resolved (hopefully revoked), there will be increased volumes. M&A is still an excellent way to generate growth in quite static markets.”

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