UK M&A hopes set at record high

British companies have shrugged off fears of rising protectionism and are feeling optimistic about global growth, pushing deal expectations to a record high.
In research published by EY on the day that Sainsbury’s and Asda coincidentally are set to detail their ?10bn- plus deal, the accountancy firm found that the number of UK businesses looking to pursue mergers or purchases of other companies (M&A) are at levels not seen in 18 years of surveys.
The finding comes after announced M&A deals surged to an 11-year high at the start of 2018, totalling $120bn (?87bn) in the first quarter in the UK.
Business leaders have reported bullish attitudes towards global growth, with 86pc of those quizzed saying they expect the economic outlook to improve. This is some 13pc above the worldwide average.
Feelings about the domestic economy are less positive, however. Only 68pc of UK executives think UK is set for improved growth.
UK M&A hopes set at record high

Sainsbury's may merge with Asda
M&A activity is also being driven by a desire for UK firms to Brexit-proof their business ­operations by striking deals with EU based firms.  Ireland and the Netherlands have replaced the US and India as top five destinations for UK companies’ purchases.
Inflation outstripped market volatility as a risk to investment plans, with 57pc of UK firms citing it as a threat, compared to 31pc who flagged market volatility.
Just 7pc were fearful of interest rate hikes. The UK has lost some appeal as a ­destination for buyers, however. It fell from third to fifth behind the US, Brazil, Canada, and China, as the top four places respectively for purchasing firms.
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