UK companies were less active in closing acquisition deals in 2013, according to data collected by the UK statistics authority, the Office for National Statistics (ONS). According to ONS, the number of deals decreased by 59% last year, as UK companies made just 50 international acquisitions in 2013, compared to 122 in 2012. Domestic takeovers also contracted, albeit at a slower pace, from 266 to 240.
Following on from the contraction in 2013, 2014 started strongly. In March, UK telecommunications giant Vodafone confirmed its $10bn purchase of Ono, a Spanish cable operator. Furthermore, following a $130bn cash injection from the sale of its stake in US mobile network operator Verizon Wireless, Victorio Caolo, Vodafone's CEO, announced in late 2013, that the company has between $30bn and $40bn assigned for acquisitions.
Professional services firm KPMG predicts an increased global appetite for acquisitions in 2014. According to the company’s trend tracker, M&A Predictor, acquisitions are expected to increase as expectations about growth capacity and price/earning ratios are more positive than they were in 2012. “Investors have been patient over the past three or four years. But as deal capacity continues to rise and global markets maintain some stability, the pressure on cash-rich corporates to start deal-making again is going to intensify,” said Tom Franks, head of corporate finance at KPMG forecasts in M&A Predictor.