Outside the capital, Southampton and the broader South East region of England remains the most active region for UK dealmaking, roughly accounting for 9% of all UK deal value and 14% of deal volumes in Q1 of 2019, writes Quantuma.
This followed on from a very active 2018 in the region, which saw a significant increase in deal activity as well as several high-profile private equity deals. It’s clear that Brexit uncertainty is still impacting deal timetables, but despite this, we continue to see investors remaining keen to deploy their available capital to fund strong businesses.
Southampton is an extremely vibrant city with strong research and development credentials at its universities. It is commonly viewed as the economic hub of the South Coast as well as being home to the leading port for automotive trade and cruise tourism, supporting a thriving economy with good potential for future growth and continued international business.
Over the last 10 years, Southampton has steadily risen through the ranks to become recognised as one of the top three UK cities in 2018’s Good Growth for Cities index. With this growth set to continue and the confidence of small business owners in this area at an all-time high, there is plenty to shout about; not least, the quality of business transactions as well as the opportunities these present for the city and beyond.
In line with this, Quantuma, whose founding office was opened in Southampton in 2013, has continued to expand in this region over the last year and a half to keep up with the ensuing demand for services by expanding into Bournemouth and Ringwood, as well as almost doubling our headcount in the Southampton region.
In its first year, our corporate finance team at Quantuma successfully transacted and delivered on 10 deals, exceeding a combined deal value of £200 million. In the Solent area alone, our team have provided lead financial advice to multiple businesses across a variety of sectors:
Each of these deals delivered excellent outcomes for the vendors and two were acquired by overseas buyers, demonstrating the market premiums from international acquirers that can be achieved by strong, attractive, and growing businesses in the Southampton area.
Overall, the local deal market has been buoyant, with many completed deals of note. In particular, the sale of loveholidays to Livingbridge Private Equity and the management buyout of Aerial Direct that required collaboration from professionals across the Solent.
On Southampton’s growth and the opportunities that lie ahead for both the region and Quantuma, Mark Lucas, our corporate finance partner said: “Southampton has been and continues to be a strong hub for economic growth in the UK. Over the last few years, the team at Quantuma has had the privilege of working with such a fantastic range of businesses in the area, providing us with the opportunity to help their management teams as well as investors in realising their ambitions. Winning three awards at the most recent Solent Deals Awards demonstrated not just our deal leadership but also the quality of businesses that this region holds.
“We expect our growth to continue as we envisage the transaction market to pick up pace in line with the execution of the city council’s development plans, which includes a substantial opportunity for investment. Our own ambitions are to continue to extend our corporate finance services at Quantuma with the introduction of a new financial due diligence offering and by adding further experience to our team. With offices now across the south, as well as in the Midlands and Manchester we are now a national business, but our roots will always be in Southampton.”