Belfast Telegraph

Tughans tops list as M&A activity hits £1.68bn in 2017

By John Mulgrew

Major business takeovers and sales have cracked almost £1.7bn - up 5% in the last year.

The latest mergers and acquisition (M&A) report from Experian shows 221 Northern Ireland deals completed last year with a disclosed value of £1.68bn, a 5% increase on the previous year despite a 6% decline in the volume of deals, down from 235 in 2016.

Manufacturing was Northern Ireland's busiest sector for mergers and acquisitions during the year with 55 transactions, while the technology sector here recorded high levels of investment activity.

Belfast law firm Tughans topped the list and was credited with 54 deals in total last year, representing a quarter of all Northern Ireland deals identified in the report.

Patrick Brown, managing partner of Tughans, said: "The year 2017 has been strong for the firm in terms of corporate and real estate transactions, building on our performance across 2015 and 2016.

"This has enabled us to top the Experian league table as most active legal advisor in Northern Ireland for 11 out of the last 12 quarters.

"In addition to the transactions identified in the report, we have been engaged in a range of other high-quality matters across the firm, including working for Apple Inc on their EMEA data HQ project, advising Invest Northern Ireland in the high-profile trade dispute between Bombardier and the US Department of Commerce, and acting as local counsel to Bank of America in relation to transactions worth over £400m."

Mr Brown also said deal volumes signalled in the report are a "positive sign that despite continuing uncertainty, both locally and nationally, there is still significant activity in the economy".

Jane Turner, research manager at Experian Market IQ, said that "2017 may have been a turbulent year across the UK but the fundamentals for deal-making remain in place".

Belfast Telegraph

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