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Deals, deals, deals

By Greig Cameron on Jan 27, 11 02:34 PM in

There were signs in the final few months of 2010 the deals market was hotting up again.

The Wood Group deal for PSN and Sir Tom Hunter disposing of Office grabbed a lot of the headlines and rightly so.

While most players in the market felt 2011 would see that pick up continuing there was always a nervousness about whether the recovery was really under way (possibly not if the latest GDP stats are looked at).

But there have already been a string of interesting transactions in January.

As headline grabbers go sticking a figure of $1 billion on an exit ideal isn't a bad way to start.

Certainly Scottish Equity Partners was delighted with the return it got from the BioVex acquisition by Amgen.

Importantly it gives the whole venture capital and business angel community a confidence boost.

The £7 million sale of Forth Dimension Displays, which was snapped up by US-giant Kopin Group, is another example of a good deal in the technology sector.

And there have been numerous others in more traditional sectors including a management buy-in at mobile phone recycler Redeem and a management buy out at manufacturer Soapworks.

There's a definite feeling - whether speaking to lawyers and accountants or VCs and investors - that more deals are on the way.

Now whether we say any Scottish IPOs this year remains to be seen.

It would be good to start increasing the number of listed businesses in the country after a several losses in recent time.

However if I was a betting man I wouldn't be laying a lot of money on there being a flood of flotations.

The few companies which might consider floating are probably not actually at the stage when it might be a good idea.

Meanwhile most advisers believe IPOs will be fairly difficult and there's a reason clients pay for that advice.

I'm not sure flotation have every been easy but the feeling persists the conditions are not yet right particularly on the AIM and PLUS markets.

But as long as there is a steady upward trend in trade sales, buy-outs, buy-ins and equity investments then I'm sure the professional services community won't be complaining too much.


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