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2015 Company Mergers and Acquisitions

List of company mergers and acquisitions that took place in the UK in 2015.

UK M&A Activity October to December 2015

DWF to merge with BridgehouseLaw

Tues, 22/12/2015 DWF is to merge with the German law firm BridgehouseLaw. The deal increases DWF’s international footprint, giving it access to the German market via BridgehouseLaw’s Cologne and Munich operations, and the Middle East in countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The combined firm will have a turnover of £194m and employ more than 2,000 people.

Camden Town Brewery sold to AB Inbev

Tue, 22/12/2015 The craft brewer Camden Town Brewery (CTB) has been taken over by AB Inbev. CTB will use the added investment to expand its operations and increase sales of its canned, bottled and kegged beers.

Kurt Geiger acquired by Cinven

Mon, 21/12/2015 Kurt Geiger, the fashion brand established in 1963, has been acquired by the private equity firm Cinven. Kurt Geiger will use the fresh investment to expand via in-market consolidation and international growth in Asia and Australia.

Ofgem fines npower £26m

Mon, 21/12/2015 The electricity and gas regulator Ofgem has fined npower £26m as a result of the supplier’s billing and complaint handling failings. npower says the failings stemmed from the introduction of a new IT system. Between September 2013 and December 2014, npower issued over 500,000 late bills, with some customers also receiving inaccurate bills with little or no detail on how these were calculated. During this period, npower customers made over 2 million complaints, with the majority being about late or inaccurate bills. However npower recorded a significant number of complaints incorrectly, leading to unresolved complaints being logged as resolved and multiple records created for a single issue. The £26m fine will be divided between some of the worst affected customers and charity. npower has agreed to new improvement targets, and if the company fails to meet them by June 2016 it will be forced to cease domestic sales activity and advertising. npower is a subsidiary of Germany’s RWE.

Zycko acquired by Rigby Private Equity

Mon, 21/12/2015 Rigby Private Equity has acquired Zycko. Established in 1999, Zycko is a specialist IT distributor.

Wayne Fueling Systems buys Vianet Fuel Solutions

Mon, 21/12/2015 Vianet Group has sold its fuel management subsidiary, Vianet Fuel Solutions (VFS), to the American company Wayne Fueling Systems. VFS specialises in real-time wet-stock management, asset management and compliance monitoring services.

Mon, 21/12/2015 Alcumus has announced it is now able to provide a wide range of outsourced risk management services following the acquisition of Santia Consulting and SafeContractor. Santia Consulting provides integrated health & safety and environment risk management services and SafeContractor is one of the UK’s main contractor accreditation and verification schemes.

Bridon to merge with Bakaert's ropes and advanced cords division

Mon, 21/12/2015 Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Bekaert have announced that Bridon (owned by OTPP) and Bekaert’s ropes and advanced cords division are to merge. Bekaert will own a 67% stake in the new company, which will be called Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group. Bridon manufactures rope and wire for use in construction, mining, oil and gas detection, telecomms and other specialised markets.

Renault to return to Formula 1

Fri, 18/12/2015 French car manufacturer Renault is to return to Formula 1 with its own team following the announcement that is has agreed to buy the UK-based Lotus F1 team. Renault has been involved in Formula 1 since 1977, winning with its own team in 2005 and 2006, and supplying engines for Red Bull’s title winning seasons from 2010 through to 2013.

CVC Capital Partners buys The Carlyle Group's stake in RAC

Fri, 18/12/2015 The Carlyle Group has sold its stake in the RAC to CVC Capital Partners. The deal means the RAC, the second-largest roadside assistance provider in the UK, will continue to receive investment to improve its technology, data and telematics functions.

Hadley Group expands with acquisition of Overeem

Fri, 18/12/2015 Hadley Group has improved its international reach with the acquisition of the Dutch company Overeem. Hadley is the UK's largest cold roll formed sections manufacturer. Established in 1930, Overeem is a manufacturer of products for the European automotive sector.

Tracsis acquires Ontrac

Fri, 18/12/2015 The software development company Ontrac has been taken over by Tracsis. Ontrac’s products are used in the transport, construction, and local government sectors. Tracsis provides scheduling software for the transport industry.

Korn Ferry buys Hay Group

Thu, 17/12/2015 The management consultant company Korn Ferry has bought Hay Group, a global management consulting firm which operates in over 47 countries worldwide. Following completion of the deal, Korn Ferry will operate across three divisions: Executive Search, Hay Group (which will be integrated into Korn Ferry’s leadership and talent consulting segment) and Futurestep.

Croda acquires Incotec

Thu, 17/12/2015 Incotec, a Dutch company which specialises in seed enhancement technology, has been acquired by Croda for £109m. Croda believes Incotec’s vegetable seed expertise will complement its field crop division.

Rolls-Royce sells Michell Bearings to British Engines

Thu, 17/12/2015 The engineering company British Engines has bought Michell Bearings from Rolls-Royce plc. Michell Bearings designs and manufactures hydrodynamic bearings for the marine and defence industries. The deal includes Rolls Royce North East Training School, which will be rebranded to Engineering Training Centre.

Royal Mail strengthens service with acquisition of eCourier

Thu, 17/12/2015 Royal Mail has strengthened its same day B2B and B2C delivery capabilities with the acquisition of eCourier. Operating 400 couriers from depots at Heathrow, West London and the City, eCourier is a provider of same day courier services.

Wed, 16/12/2015 Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank is to float on the London Stock Exchange in early 2016, becoming an independent entity. The banking business is currently owned by National Australia Bank and has 2.8 million retail and business customers, with £2.6bn of customer deposits and a £2.8bn loan portfolio.

DMGT announces Wowcher and LivingSocial merger

Tue, 15/12/2015 Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has announced Wowcher and LivingSocial are to merge, forming a new company in which DMGT will own a 30% stake and Exponent Private Equity will be the controlling shareholder.
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Intercity Technology acquires Imerja

Tue, 15/12/2015 Intercity Technology is to expand the range of IT services it offers to clients with the acquisition of Imerja, a provider of IT infrastructure, security, hosting, mobility and compliance services.

Johnson Service Group acquires Ashbon Services

Tue, 15/12/2015 Ashbon Services has been acquired by Johnson Service Group. Ashbon is a provider of specialist linen hire and laundry services to the catering, hotel and leisure industries. The £6.25m deal includes Ashbon’s processing plant in Grantham.

Intertek buys Professional Service Industries for £220m

Tue, 15/12/2015 Professional Service Industries, an American provider of materials testing and assurance, has been acquired by Intertek Group for £220m. The deal will allow Intertek to offer a fully integrated testing and assurance ‘one-stop-shop’ service.

Sun European Partners acquires Finlays

Tue, 15/12/2015 Finlays, one of the world’s largest producers and packers of Fairtrade roses and lilies, has been acquired by an affiliate of the private equity firm Sun European Partners.

Singha Estate acquires Jupiter Hotels

Tue, 15/12/2015 Jupiter Hotels has been acquired by the Thailand property company Singha Estate Public Company for £155m. Jupiter owns and manages 26 Mercure branded hotels across the UK, in addition to five Dragonfly Hotels and one independent hotel.

Sinclair IS Pharma sells business to Alliance Pharma

Tue, 15/12/2015 Sinclair IS Pharma has agreed to sell its healthcare products business to Alliance Pharma for £132.2m. The deal enables Alliance to improve its reach in the dermatology sector.

Hill & Smith acquires Premier Galvanizing

Tue, 08/12/2015 The crash barrier manufacturer Hill & Smith has acquired Premier Galvanizing. The £15.5m deal enables Hill & Smith to extend its plant network to areas covered by Premier Galvanizing’s Hull and Corby plants.

Irwin Mitchell merges with Thomas Eggar

Tue, 08/12/2015 The law firms Irwin Mitchell and Thomas Eggar have agreed to merge. All Thomas Eggar employees, including 67 partners, will transfer to Irwin Mitchell.

Tue, 08/12/2015 Jewellery Maker, a TV shopping channel dedicated to people who make their own jewellery, has been bought by Immediate Media, publisher of consumer magazines such as Radio Times, Sky At Night Magazine, Homes & Antiques and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Tue, 08/12/2015 Fox-IT, a Dutch cyber security company, has been acquired by NCC Group for £126.3m. Fox-It specialises in cyber security products, managed security services, advanced threat intelligence, forensics and incident response, 'Sovereign Cryptography' and professional services. The deal strengthens NCC’s position in the fast growing global cyber security market.

Tue, 08/12/2015 Acumen, Greenwoods and Plexus Law have all been acquired by Plexus Law’s management team. Acumen is a cost consultancy, Greenwoods is a dispute resolution law firm which specialises in the insurance sector and Plexus Law is a leading personal injury claims firm.

Tue, 08/12/2015 Argent Rehabilitation, a provider of rehabilitation case management services to victims of personal injury cases, has been acquired by Premex Group.

Mon, 07/12/2015 The powerboat manufacturer Fairline Boats has gone into administration. The Peterborough-headquartered business employs around 450 people. The administration comes less than two months after Fairline Boats was sold by the private equity firm Better Capital to another private equity firm Wessex Bristol.

Tue, 24/11/2015 Hope Construction Materials has been acquired by Breedon Aggregates. The deal creates the UK’s largest independent producer of cement, concrete and other building materials. Breedon operates 53 quarries, 26 asphalt plants, 59 ready-mixed concrete plants. Hope, established in 2013 following the divestment of assets from LaFarge and Tarmac, is a producer of cement, concrete and aggregates.

Tue, 24/11/2015 The world’s largest hotel company has been formed following the £8bn acquisition of Starwood by Marriott. Starwood’s brands in the UK include Le Meridien, Westin, Element and Sheraton. Marriott operates 63 hotels across the UK.

Tue, 24/11/2015 The gear technology manufacturer Renold has acquired the German company Aventics Tooth Chain for £4.5m. The deal will improve the geographical range of Renold’s sales.

Tue, 24/11/2015 The private equity firm Palamon has bought a majority stake in The Rug Company. Established in 1997, The Rug Company specialises in luxury handmade rugs.

Mon, 23/11/2015 The world’s largest biopharmaceutical company has been created following the announcement that Pfizer and Allergan are to merge in a £100bn deal. The Allergan parent company will be the parent company of the combined group, but will be renamed ‘Pfizer plc’ as part of the deal. Pfizer is best known over-the-counter products include Anadin and ThermaCare. Allergan develops products for eye care, skin care and various speciality markets. 

Thu, 19/11/2015 The Canadian company CCL Industries has bought Worldmark, a manufacturer of pressure sensitive materials for the technology industry.

Thu, 19/11/2015 Wincanton has agreed to sell its records management business to Restore for £60m. The deal consolidates the UK’s records management sector and gives Restore control of a company which has operations in London, Dublin, Bristol, Telford and Motherwell.

Thu, 19/11/2015 Chase Templeton has continued its expansion strategy with the acquisition of Healthcare Solutions.

Thu, 19/11/2015 Epwin Group has acquired Vannplastic for £5.2m. Epwin manufactures low maintenance building products for the social housing sector. Vannplastic, established in 2002, trades as Ecodek and manufactures hardwood substitute for balconies and outdoor decking.

Wed, 18/11/2015 The BBC has announced it is to cut 1,000 jobs by the end of 2017 as part of its plan to address a funding shortfall of £150m. Other savings will come from cutting the TV sports rights budget by £35m, spending £12m less on factual, comedy and entertainment programming, and scrapping the Red Button service which provides multiscreen viewing options during major events such as Wimbledon and Glastonbury.

Tue, 17/11/2015 King Digital Entertainment, developer of the Candy Crush mobile videogames, has been acquired by Activision Blizzard for £4bn. Activision, best known for publishing marketing leading console titles such as Call of Duty and Destiny, is to use the deal to move into the fast growing mobile gaming sector.

Tue, 17/11/2015 Shire Pharmaceuticals has announced it is to spend £4bn on the biotechnology company Dyax. The deal strengthens Shire position in the biotech sector and as one of the world’s leading specialists in rare diseases.

Thu, 12/11/2015 Landor has bought a majority stake in ManvsMachine, a motion design studio. Landor, owned by WPP, is a strategic brand consulting and design firm. ManvsMachine has worked on campaigns for some of the world’s best known brands, including Nike, Microsoft, Honda, and Audi.

Thu, 12/11/2015 The Swedish private equity firm EQT has sold Vertu to a group of international private investors. Vertu makes luxury mobile phones. It launched its first Android product in 2013, with a pricetag of £6,700.

Thu, 12/11/2015 RSA has sold its engineering inspection and consultancy division to the private equity firm Inflexion. The company, which will be known as British Engineering Services, is a provider of engineering testing, inspection and consultancy services.

Thu, 12/11/2015 Trinity Mirror is aiming to become the UK’s largest regional news publisher following the acquisition of Local World, in a deal which values the regional news provider at £220m. Local World owns 83 print publications, including 16 daily print titles, 36 paid weekly titles and 29 free weekly publications.

Thu, 12/11/2015 The boutique commercial law firm Cope & Co has been acquired by Jackson Canter Group.

Thu, 12/11/2015 Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that for July to September 2015, 73.7% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, the highest employment rate since comparable records began in 1971. The unemployment rate was 5.3%, down from 6.0% for a year earlier and the lowest since 2008. Among 16 to 64 year olds there were 31.21 million people in work, 1.75 million people out of work but seeking work, and 8.97 million people not looking for work or not available for work.

Wed, 11/11/2015 John Lewis, one of the UK’s best known retailers, has announced it is to move into the European market for the first time. The joint venture with de Bijenkorf, the Dutch department store, will see seven shop-in-shops open within the Dutch retailer’s stores by the end of 2017, with the first three launching next year in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. This is not the first international collaboration for John Lewis, which has similar shop-in-shop arrangements in Singapore, the Phillipines and South Korea.

Tue, 10/11/2015 Universities Superannuation Scheme, the pension scheme provided by universities, higher education and associated institutions for their employees, has acquired the motorway service station operator Moto Group. Established in 2001, Moto operates from 45 locations across the UK. Click here to buy the mailing list of director level and c-level contacts involved in this deal

Tue, 10/11/2015 The vegetarian food manufacturer Quorn has been acquired by the Philippines-based food company Monde Nissin for £550m. Quorn products, which very closely emulate the taste, appearance and texture of meat, are made from the protein source Mycoprotein.

Tue, 10/11/2015 Dialog, one of Europe’s fastest growing semiconductor companies, has acquired Atmel for £3bn. The newly created company will be a market leader in power management and embedded processing products, which are crucial in the mobile power, Internet of Things and automotive sectors.

Tue, 10/11/2015 Following an eventful 18 months which has seen the company’s shares lose 85% of their value, an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the departure of its founder, the insurance claims firm Quindell is to change its name to Watchstone Group plc.

Mon, 09/11/2015 Palatine Private Equity has backed the management buyout of Vernacare, a supplier of infection control products to hospitals.

Mon, 09/11/2015 The private equity firm NorthEdge Capital has acquired a majority stake in the home decoration products provider Arthouse. The deal means Arthouse is expected to expand into the US and Middle East markets.

Mon, 09/11/2015 The wild shellfish company Macduff Shellfish Group has been acquired by the Canadian company Clearwater Seafoods. The £94m deal means Clearwater will be able to integrate its vessel management and sustainable harvesting processes.

Mon, 09/11/2015 The investment company Brait is now the majority owner of the frozen food retailer Iceland. Brait acquired a 38% stake from Lord Kirkham and The Landmark Group, taking its total shareholding to 57%. Iceland has 800 stores and an online operation. In 2014 it had around a 2.1% share of the UK grocery market.

Mon, 09/11/2015 Diageo has sold its European wine division Percy Fox to Treasury Wine Estates for £320m. Diageo is planning to use the proceeds of this sale to repay borrowings.

Mon, 09/11/2015 The recruitment company Milestone has been taken over by Staffline Group. Milestone specialises in providing jobs for professional drivers, warehouse staff and industry experts within the transport, distribution, industrial and utilities industries. Staffline has 17 traditional recruitment agency branches located principally in the Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham triangle. It also has 35 on site locations where Staffline employees are installed on clients' premises to manage their recruitment function.

Mon, 09/11/2015 Photobox Group has agreed to be taken over by the private equity firms Exponent and Electra. Photobox owns the Moonpig, PaperShaker, Sticky9, Hofmann, Posterjack and posterXXL brands. The deal will see Electra invest £89m into the business, as it looks to expand its mobile, product and international divisions.

Mon, 09/11/2015 ITV has agreed to buy UTV from UTV Media plc for £100m. The deal means ITV now owns 13 of the 15 regional licences for the Channel 3 network. UTV Media will continue to own UTV Radio GB and UTV Radio Ireland, and the digital media businesses, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.

Fri, 06/11/2015 British American Tobacco (BAT) has bought CHIC Group, a market leading eCigarette retailer in Europe. The deal is part of BAT’s move into next generation products in response to growing pressure on its traditional business model.

Fri, 06/11/2015 Meggitt has expanded its advanced composites business with the acquisition of EDAC for £230m. Previously known as Parkway Aerospace & Defense, EDAC is a manufacturer of aerospace components for jet engine and airframe applications.

Thu, 05/11/2015 The aircraft servicing company BBA Aviation has announced it has agreed terms for a proposed £1,350m takeover of Landmark Aviation.

Thu, 05/11/2015 Palatine Private Equity has sold Playnation to the Austrian gaming company Novomatic. Playnation supplies 20,000 amusement machines to holiday parks, motorway service stations, bowling alleys, family pubs and airports across the UK.

Thu, 05/11/2015 Telford Homes has bought the regeneration business of United House Developments for £23m. The deal means Telford Homes is now responsible for major development work at City North in North London, refurbishment and regeneration of the Balfron Tower and Chrisp Street Market in Poplar and two stages of development at Gallions Quarter near Royal Albert.

Tue, 03/11/2015 The private equity firm Cinven has sold Guardian Financial Services (GFS) to Admin Re for £1.6bn. Established in 1821, GFS provides capital release services to banks and insurers. Admin Re is Swiss Re’s is closed life book business, with the deal creating a division responsible for a book of 4 million UK policies.

Mon, 02/11/2015 The Living Wage Foundation has announced that the voluntary Living Wage rate has risen to £8.25 per hour, from £7.85. The London Living Wage rate goes up to £9.40 from £9.15. The new rate, which the Living Wage Foundation encourages responsible businesses to pay, is calculated independently and is based on the cost of living. The Living Wage should not be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage, which the Government is to introduce in April 2016 and is set at £7.20 and only applies to those aged 25 and over.

Mon, 02/11/2015Latchways, a manufacturer of fall protection products and systems, has been acquired by the American company MSA Safety Incorporated for £124m.

Mon, 02/11/2015 Alteri Investors has acquired Brantano and Jones Bootmaker from Macintosh Retail Group. Brantano consists of 140 footwear retail stores and 61 concessions located across the UK. Jones Bootmaker owns 110 stores. Alteri specialises in retail investments across Europe.

Mon, 02/11/2015 Wynnstay has bought Agricentre. With a network of eight units based across the UK, Agricentre provides a range of products covering animal healthcare, dairy hygiene and animal nutrition.

Mon, 02/11/2015 The private equity firm LDC has backed the management buyout of PEI Media Group, owner of financial publications such as Private Equity International, PERE, Infrastructure Investor, Real Estate Capital and pfm.

Mon, 02/11/2015 News UK is to remove the paywall to its website for The Sun newspaper from the end of November. The move comes two years after the tabloid’s online subscription was introduced, and marks a significant change of policy by Rebekah Brooks, who recently returned as News UK’s chief executive. The removal of the paywall will allow The Sun to compete with rivals such as the Daily Mail for ad revenue generated from links from social media content. News UK will continue to operate a paywall to the online version of The Times, at least in the short term.

Fri, 30/10/2015 Alteri Investors has acquired Brantano and Jones Bootmaker from Macintosh Retail Group. Brantano consists of 140 footwear retail stores and 61 concessions located across the UK. Jones Bootmaker owns 110 stores. Alteri specialises in retail investments across Europe.

Fri, 30/10/2015 Smith & Nephew has moved into the orthopaedic robotics-assisted surgery sector with the £180m acquisition of Blue Belt Technologies.

Tue, 20/10/2015 Tata Steel is to cut around 1,200 jobs in the UK in response to ‘a shift in market conditions caused by a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China, a strong pound and high electricity costs’. The company says that about 900 of the job losses will be in Scunthorpe while 200 will be in Scotland. Plate mills in Scunthorpe, Dalzell and Clydebridge are to be mothballed while one of the two coke ovens at the Scunthorpe steelworks will be closed. Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “The UK steel industry is struggling for survival in the face of extremely challenging market conditions. This industry has a crucial role to play in rebalancing the UK economy, but we need a fairer system to encourage growth. The European Commission needs to do much more to deal with unfairly traded imports – inaction threatens the future of the entire European steel industry.” Tata says that in the past two years, imports of steel plate into Europe have doubled and imports from China have quadrupled, causing steel prices to fall steeply. At the same time, a stronger pound has undermined the competitiveness of the business’s Europe-bound exports, and encouraged more imports.

Caparo Industries has gone into administration. The diversified industrial group comprises approximately 20 individual business in the UK steel industry. The group employs just over 1,700 people in total.

Tue, 13/10/2015 SABMiller has announced it has reached an agreement “in principle” that will see it taken over by AB InBev, in one of the largest ever takeover deals involving a UK company. The £44 per share deal values SABMiller, owner of well-known brands such as Peroni and Pilsner, at £68bn. AB InBev owns many of the leading global beer brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Leffe and Hoegaarden.

Tue, 13/10/2015 The government has completed the privatisation of Royal Mail with the sale of its final 13% stake in the company to institutional investors for £591.1m. The entire privatisation raised £3.3bn. Post Office Ltd, which operates the network of branches throughout the UK, remains wholly-owned by the state.

Mon, 12/10/2015 In one of the biggest ever deals between technology companies, Dell has bought EMC Computer Systems for $67bn (£44bn). The newly combined company will be a market leader in servers, storage, virtualization and PCs. The software company VMware will continue to operate as an individual business.

Fri, 09/10/2015 Dialog, one of Europe’s fastest growing semiconductor companies, has acquired Atmel for £3bn. The newly created company will be a market leader in power management and embedded processing products, which are crucial in the mobile power, Internet of Things and automotive sectors.

Tue, 06/10/2015 The vegetarian food manufacturer Quorn has been acquired by the Philippines-based food company Monde Nissin for £550m. Quorn products, which very closely emulate the taste, appearance and texture of meat, are made from the protein source Mycoprotein.

Mon, 05/10/2015 The Government is to abolish the Uniform Business Rate and give local authorities the power to cut business rates in their areas to encourage enterprise and economic activity. The reform will also mean that local councils will retain all revenue from business rates. Currently business rates are collected locally and then transferred to central government to be distributed regionally in the form of grants. Under the new system, which will be in place by 2020, all income from local taxes will be spent on funding local services. In addition, directly elected mayors will be able to add a premium to business rates to pay for new infrastructure.

Thu, 01/10/2015 The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined a solar panels marketer £200,000 for breaking telemarketing regulations. Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd made over six million calls as part of an automated call marketing campaign offering ‘free’ solar panels without first seeking people’s permission to call them. In order to make automated calls an organisation must have people’s permission, which specifically names the company concerned. However the ICO found this wasn’t the case, and Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd admitted that it didn’t even know what the rules were. In addition the ICO’s investigation found that the calls were misleading because the solar panels were not necessarily free as implied by the recorded message

M&A Activity July to September 2015

Mon, 28/09/2015 Sahaviriya Steel Industries is to ‘mothball’ its iron and steelmaking plant in Redcar with the loss of 1,700 jobs. The Thai company cites the fall in global steel prices as the reason for its decision. The site’s coke ovens and power station will continue to operate. SSI says that it will continue to work with various stakeholders, including Government, with the objective of restarting operations at Teesside at some point in the future. SSI purchased the Redcar facility from Tata Steel in 2011, after it had been mothballed by Tata.

Fri, 25/09/2015 Dialog, one of Europe’s fastest growing semiconductor companies, has acquired Atmel for £3bn. The newly created company will be a market leader in power management and embedded processing products, which are crucial in the mobile power, Internet of Things and automotive sectors.

Thu, 24/09/2015 British American Tobacco (BAT) has bought CHIC Group, a market leading eCigarette retailer in Europe. The deal is part of BAT’s move into next generation products in response to growing pressure on its traditional business model.

Thu, 24/09/2015 Meggitt has expanded its advanced composites with the acquisition of EDAC for £230m. Previously known as Parkway Aerospace & Defense, EDAC is a manufacturer of aerospace components for jet engine and airframe applications.

Thu, 24/09/2015 The aircraft servicing company BBA Aviation has announced it has agreed terms for a proposed £1.35bn takeover of Landmark Aviation.

Thu, 24/09/2015 Palatine Private Equity has sold Playnation to the Austrian gaming company Novomatic. Playnation supplies 20,000 amusement machines to holiday parks, motorway service stations, bowling alleys, family pubs and airports across the UK.

Thu, 24/09/2015 Telford Homes has bought the regeneration business of United House Developments for £23m. The deal means Telford Homes is now responsible for major development work at City North in North London, refurbishment and regeneration of the Balfron Tower and Chrisp Street Market in Poplar and two stages of development at Gallions Quarter near Royal Albert.

Thu, 24/09/2015 The private equity firm Cinven has sold Guardian Financial Services (GFS) to Admin Re for £1.6bn. Established in 1821, GFS provides capital release services to banks and insurers. Admin Re is Swiss Re’s is closed life book business, with the deal creating a division responsible for a book of 4 million UK policies.

Thu, 24/09/2015 The video distribution platform Unruly has been bought by News Corp. The £114m deal will see the company operate as a separate business unit and report to News UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who believes the acquisition will ‘create new premium video inventory for our News UK mastheads and other businesses.‘

Tue, 22/09/2015 JCB is to cut up to 400 jobs in the UK in response to a rapid deterioration in world construction equipment markets. The digger manufacturer’s chief executive, Graeme Macdonald, said: “Market conditions in the construction equipment sector have been difficult for some time, but they have worsened quite rapidly in recent weeks. The situation is not about to improve, certainly not in the short term, so we now need to take difficult but decisive actions to align overheads to lower sales forecasts. Regrettably, this will result in up to 400 staff positions becoming redundant across our UK

Mon, 21/09/2015 Zurich Insurance has announced that it has ended talks with RSA regarding a possible takeover of the insurance company. It had been expected the takeover would go ahead when Zurich declared in July that it was making a £5.6bn offer.

Fri, 18/09/2015 Lidl UK has announced that on 1 October it will become the first British supermarket to adopt the recommended Living Wage. This means that all Lidl UK employees will receive a minimum of £8.20 per hour across England, Scotland and Wales, and £9.35 per hour in London. The move will cost Lidl £9m, with 53% of Lidl UK’s 17,000 workforce benefiting from the rise. Lidl has experienced a record year with sales of more than £4bn.

Fri, 18/09/2015 Arsenal Football Club has announced its financial results for the year ending May 2015, with turnover reaching a new high of £344.5m. The club’s income has been boosted by new commercial activities, such as the partnership with PUMA which started at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Matchday revenue is now only the third highest income stream for the club, behind commercial and broadcast rights.

Fri, 11/09/2015 The flooring manufacturer Victoria has bought Interfloor Group for £65m. Victoria manufactures, supplies and distributes design-led flooring. Interfloor specialises in carpet underlay and related accessories.

Thu, 10/09/2015 Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company has agreed to buy Amlin for £3.5bn. The deal is part of Mitsui’s strategy to become a market leading global insurance group. Amlin is a specialty insurer and reinsurer which was established in 1998 when Murray Lawrence and Angerstein Underwriting Trust merged.

Wed, 09/09/2015 The private equity firm Endless has acquired Bright Blue Foods (BBF), a manufacturer of mince pies, celebration cakes, swiss rolls and cake bars. BBF, one of the largest manufacturers of mince pies and Christmas cakes in the UK, makes private label cakes for clients including Tesco, M&S, ASDA, Aldi and Morrisons. Click here to buy the mailing list of director level and c-level contacts involved in this deal

Tue, 08/09/2015 One of the UK’s largest independent drinks wholesalers has been created following Conviviality Retail’s acquisition of Matthew Clark for £198.4m. Matthew Clark supplies wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks to over 17,000 outlets in the UK. Conviviality will drop Retail from its name when the deal is completed and be known simply as Conviviality Plc.

Mon, 07/09/2015 Addison Motors, the motor car dealer which trades as Benfield Motor Group, has been taken over by Lookers for £87.5m. Benfield’s franchises cover major car brands such as Ford, Toyota and Honda and operate across the North of England and Scotland.

Mon, 07/09/2015 Tesco is to reduce its debt by £4.2bn, following the sale of its South Korean retail business Homeplus to the Korean private equity firm MBK Partners. Tesco is seeking to regain competitiveness in the UK market and the sale is part of its plan to strengthen its balance sheet. Established in 1999, Homeplus is the largest grocery retailer in the Korean market, employing over 26,000 people.

Thu, 03/09/2015 Nissan is to invest £100m to produce a new generation of its Nissan Juke model at its Sunderland plant. The company says that the investment will secure the jobs of 34,000 people currently employed by Nissan and its British suppliers beyond 2020. Nissan is now the biggest carmaker in the history of the UK car industry, with annual output exceeding 500,000 vehicles in each of the last three years. The Japanese company employs nearly 8,000 people in its UK design, engineering and manufacturing operations, supporting an additional 27,000 jobs in the UK supply chain as well as 3,900 jobs in dealerships.

Thu, 03/09/2015 The UK's second-largest branded holiday park operator Park Resorts is to merge with Parkdean Holidays. The deal creates a company responsible for 73 sites across the UK and an estimated turnover greater than £100m.

Thu, 03/09/2015 Industry leading bookmakers Paddy Power and Betfair have reached an agreement to merge, in a deal which would create one of the world’s largest online betting and gaming companies, with a turnover exceeding £1.1 billion. Paddy Power would own 52% of the newly created company and Betfair 48%.

Wed, 02/09/2015 EY has acquired the digital consultancy Seren. The deal is one of several to have been made by EY recently, as it looks to grow its global strategy consulting services to over 2,500 professionals by 2020.

Wed, 02/09/2015 The incident and claims management company FMG has been bought by Redde. Established in 1992, Redde provides a range of bespoke claims management, legal and specialist accident management services.

Tue, 25/08/2015BT Sport is to broadcast live international cricket for the first time following the announcement that it has won the rights to Australia’s home internationals for the next five years. 210 days of Australian cricket are included in the deal, which covers the 2017-18 Ashes series and the KFC Big Bash League, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition. This is the first time Sky hasn’t broadcast cricket from Australia since 1986/87, when the BBC broadcast highlights and a single live one day international.

Tue, 18/08/2015 Fairpoint Group has bought the consumer legal services business Colemans for £9m. The deal gives Fairpoint additional expertise in the areas of volume personal injury, volume conveyancing and travel law. Fairpoint acquired Simpson Millar in 2014 and believes the acquisition of Colemans will fully complement this area of its business.

Mon, 17/08/2015 Informa has bought Ashgate Publishing. A publisher of academic reference works, Ashgate will operate alongside Informa’s existing academic publishing business, Taylor & Francis. Click here to buy the mailing list of director level and c-level contacts involved in this deal

Wed, 12/08/2015 Pearson has agreed to sell its 50% stake in The Economist Group for £469m. The deal sees the Italian investment company EXOR S.p.A. increase its shareholdings in the company from 4.7% to 43.4% to become the largest single shareholder. The Economist Group offers magazines, newspapers, electronic services and conferences. The Economist magazine sells more than 1.6m printed and digital copies every week. Pearson has now fully exited the publishing business, allowing it to focus fully on its global education strategy.

Tue, 11/08/2015 Melrose has agreed to sell Elster to Honeywell for £3.3bn. Elster specialises in measuring and improving the flow of natural gas, electricity and water. Click here to buy the mailing list of director level and c-level contacts involved in this deal

Tue, 11/08/2015 Google is restructuring its business and creating a holding company called Alphabet. Alphabet Inc will replace Google Inc as the publicly-traded entity and all shares in Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares in Alphabet. Google will become one of a number of wholly-owned subsidiaries of Alphabet. Other companies in the group will include Calico, a business focussed on longevity, Google Life Sciences, the investment arms Ventures and Capital, and X lab, which incubates new enterprises such as Wing, the drone delivery business. Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will become CEO and President of Alphabet respectively, while Sundar Pichai is made CEO of Google.

Mon, 10/08/2015 Carphone Warehouse says that it has suffered a cyber attack in which personal data of up to 2.4 million customers may have been accessed. The personal data may include name, address, date of birth and bank details. In addition encrypted credit card data of up to 90,000 of the phone retailer’s customers may also have been accessed. The attack affected the division of Carphone Warehouse that manages the websites of OneStopPhoneShop.com, e2save.com and Mobiles.co.uk and also provides a number of services to iD Mobile, TalkTalk Mobile and Talk Mobile.

Fri, 07/08/2015 Fokker Technologies, a Dutch aerospace supplier, has been bought by GKN for £500m. Fokker consists of four divisions which cover aerostructures, electrical systems, landing gear and services.

Thu, 06/08/2015 LloydsPharmacy has agreed to buy Sainsbury’s pharmacy business. The £125m deal includes 281 Pharmacies, all of which will be rebranded under the LloydsPharmacy name. Sainsbury’s will receive annual rent payments from LloydsPharmacy for each location.

Thu, 06/08/2015 The vegetable packaging and distribution company Kerfoot Group has been bought by the French Avril Group. Kerfoot’s services are focussed on edible oils, speciality oils and fats which are supplied to the food service market.

Thu, 06/08/2015 Nuaire, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of ventilation systems, has been acquired by Polypipe. The £145m deal strengthens Polypipe’s position in the fast growing commercial ventilation sector. Click here to buy the mailing list of director level and c-level contacts involved in this deal

Tue, 28/07/2015 The Office for National Statistics estimates the UK’s GDP increased by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2015, an improvement on the first quarter which saw growth of 0.4%. This growth was driven mainly by the services and production sectors, which increased by 0.7% and 1.0% respectively. In contrast, the construction industry experienced no growth and agriculture decreased by 0.7%.

Thu, 23/07/2015 The Japanese business media company Nikkei is to buy FT Group, which includes the Financial Times, from Pearson for £844m. The Financial Times has a combined print and digital circulation of 720,000 and provides news, comment, data and analysis to the global business community. The deal includes the newspaper, FT.com, How to Spend It, FT Labs, FTChinese, the Confidentials and the financial publishing division. Not included are Pearson’s 50% stake in The Economist Group and FT Group’s London property at One Southwark Bridge. Pearson has owned FT Group for nearly 60 years, but it is now aiming to focus exclusively on its education business.

Thu, 23/07/2015 Middleby, owner of Lincat since 2011, has further developed its position in the UK with the acquisition of Aga Rangemaster for £129m. Aga’s brands include Rangemaster, La Cornue and Marvel, and the deal makes Middleby a leading manufacturer in the premium segment for residential kitchen equipment.

Thu, 23/07/2015 Aurelius Breaks The Mould: the investment company Aurelius has acquired Regain Polymers. Established in 1991, Regain is a bespoke compounder and recycler of post-use, rigid plastics.

Wed, 22/07/2015 PinBellCom has been bought by EMIS Group. PinBellCom develops administration and compliance software products. EMIS specialises in connected healthcare software and services.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The architecture firms Darnton EGS and B3 Architects have merged to form Darnton B3 Architecture. The newly formed company has eleven offices across the UK with 150 employees.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The commercial property consultancies Bulleys and Bradbury Commercial have merged to form Bulleys Bradbury.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The private equity firm Lyceum Capital has backed the management buyout of Briefing Media Group (BMG). Established in 2010, BMG owns a range of online and print brands, including Farmers Guardian and Agrimoney.com. In addition it runs a number of events and exhibitions, including the agriculture event LAMMA and the British Farming Awards.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The jewellery retailer Chapelle has been taken over Hilco Capital, a specialist in corporate restructuring and owner of HMV. Chapelle owns and runs 24 stores across the UK.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The American company Platform Specialty Products has agreed to buy Alent for £1.3bn. Alent is a supplier of speciality chemicals and engineered materials for electronics, automotive and industrial applications sectors.

Wed, 22/07/2015 MIRA, the vehicle engineering consultancy and testing services provider, has been bought by the Japanese company HORIBA. The acquisition will see MIRA integrated into HORIBA’s automotive test systems division.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The energy management services provider Orchard has been acquired by Lakehouse. The £7m acquisition means that Lakehouse’s energy services division can offer fuel poverty services to social housing clients.

Wed, 22/07/2015 The medical device manufacturer Smith & Nephew has acquired the trauma and orthopaedics business of DeOst, a distributor of its products in Russia.

Tue, 21/07/2015 Oxford Industries has sold Ben Sherman to Marquee Brands for £40.8m. The first Ben Sherman store was opened in Brighton's Duke Street in 1967.

Tue, 21/07/2015 AVEVA is to buy Schneider Software from Schneider Electric. The deal involves AVEVA shares being issued to Schneider Electric, which will result in Schneider Electric owning 53.5% of the newly enlarged AVEVA group. The deal creates one of the world’s leading industrial software providers, combining AVEVA’s engineering design and information management products with Schneider Software’s specialism in process engineering & optimisation, operations planning & scheduling, operations execution management, asset management, operations control and information management.

Tue, 21/07/2015 The independent music publisher Minder Music has been acquired by BMG. Minder Music’s catalogue includes music from the 1950’s UK children’s TV series Watch With Mother (Bill & Ben, Andy Pandy and Time To Go Home) and artists such as The Gap Band, The Fatback Band and Jimmy Castor.

Tue, 21/07/2015 Loansathome4u, the home credit division of S&U, has been acquired by Non-Standard Finance, a company established to acquire and operate non-standard consumer finance businesses. The £82.5m deal is Non-Standard Finance’s first, and will see an expansion of Loansathome4u’s branch network and agent workforce.

Wed, 15/07/2015 Latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of unemployed people in the UK rose by 15,000 to 1.85 million in the most recent quarter. This is the first increase for two years. In addition there were 9.02 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were out of work and not seeking or available to work, 104,000 more than a year earlier. Compared with a year before, pay increased by 3.2% including bonuses and by 2.8% excluding bonuses. The Consumer Prices Index, the government’s preferred measurement for inflation, was unchanged in the year to June 2015.

Summer Budget 2015

Fri, 10/07/2015 The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a new national minimum wage for people aged over 25. Set at £7.20 per hour and called ‘the living wage’ it is to be introduced from April 2016. Other major changes for businesses announced in George Osborne’s summer budget include: Corporation tax will be reduced to 19% in 2017 and then to 18% in 2020. The Employment Allowance rises from £2,000 to £3,000 in 2016/17, giving businesses a further £1,000 reduction in the national insurance they pay. From April 2016 a new Dividend Tax Allowance of £5,000 will be introduced.

Dividends received in excess of £5,000 will be taxed at 7.5% for standard rate tax payers, at 32.5% for higher rate tax payers and at 38.1% for an additional rate tax payers. The Treasury expects to make £2bn a year in revenues from this change, which will see a significant tax increase for small business owners and contractors who pay themselves in dividends.

From April 2016 the tax-free personal allowance will increase to £11,000 and the 40% tax threshold will go up to £43,000.

A surcharge of 7% on bank profits will be introduced from 2016.

The amount that can be charged by claims management companies will be capped.

Tue, 07/07/2015 The BBC is to take on the costs for providing free licence fees to over-75s, with this change being phased in from 2018/19 with the full costs being fully transferred from 2020/21 onwards. In return the Government has agreed modify the licence fee so that it covers the iPlayer, remove the broadband ringfence, increase the licence fee in line with inflation over the next Charter Review period, and “carefully consider” the case for decriminalisation of non-payment of the licence fee.

Tue, 07/07/2015 Croydex a designer, manufacturer and distributor of bathroom furnishings and accessories, has been taken over by Norcros for £21.9m. Norcros specialises in supplying branded showers, taps, bathroom accessories, tiles and adhesives and is aiming to reach a turnover of £420m by 2018.

Mon, 06/07/2015 The accountancy firms Menzies and Harris Lipman have merged, in a deal that creates a partnership that will generate fee income of £40m trading under the Menzies name.

Mon, 06/07/2015 The private equity firm Endless has acquired Kier Group’s fleet and passenger services business (FPS) for £17.9m. FPS, a company with a turnover of £43m and more than 500 employees, will trade as Essential Fleet Services (EFS). As part of the deal, EFS will provide Kier with fleet services to its local authority highways and utilities businesses for the next five years.

Fri, 03/07/2015 Chilli Marketing Brands has sold Rekorderlig UK to Molson Coors. The acquisition gives Molson Coors the exclusive rights to distribute, sell and market the Rekorderlig range of ciders in the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. Rekorderlig Cider will continue to be brewed in Sweden, where it was created in 1999.

Thu, 02/07/2015 The BBC has revised its forecast for licence fee income in 2016/17, with the expectation that £150m less will be generated compared to predictions made in 2011. In response, the BBC is to cut 1,000 jobs by merging divisions, reducing management layers, cutting down the number of managers and simplifying back office functions. The rise of iPlayer and other online catch-up services is considered the main reason for the fall in the number of households owning televisions. The BBC is to press for the licence fee to be modernised to cover these new services.

Wed, 01/07/2015 From 1 July 2015 all calls to Freephone 0800 and 0808 numbers will be free on mobile phones, as they are from landlines. Until now calls to Freephone numbers from mobile phones typically cost between 14p and 40p per minute. In another change, the cost of calling ‘service numbers’ – beginning 084, 087, 09 and 118 – will now be made up of two parts: an access charge at a rate per minute will go to the user’s phone company while a service charge will go to the organisation being called. Access charges will be made clear to customers when they take out a phone contract.

M&A Activity April to June 2015

Mon, 29/06/2015 The International Olympic Committee has awarded the exclusive TV rights in Europe for the Olympic Games from 2018-2024 to Discovery Communications, the parent company of Eurosport, for £900m. Live coverage of the Olympic Games is protected in the UK, meaning that Discovery will have to sub-license a portion of the rights to either the BBC, ITV or Channel 4. In other European markets Discovery has committed to broadcasting a minimum of 200 hours (100 hours for the Winter Olympics) on free to air television.

Tue, 23/06/2015 NHS England has chosen Capita as the preferred bidder for a £1bn contract to become the single provider of administrative support functions for primary care across the UK. The 7 to 10 year contract will see Capita introduce a common set of services, processes and standards across the NHS that it says will ‘improve the quality, reliability and sustainability of administration support services’. Capita says that ‘accessible services and better ways of working will contribute significant savings in keeping with NHS England’s commitment to reduce administration costs.

Tue, 23/06/2015 The chocolate retailer Thorntons has been acquired by the Italian confectionery company Ferrero for £112m. Ferrero’s brands include Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Surprise and tic tac.

Thu, 18/06/2015 The American electronic measurement company Keysight Technologies has acquired Anite for £388m. Keysight’s hardware is used in the wireless communications, aerospace and defence industries, and it believes taking over Anite will further strengthen its position as a supplier for wireless design and validation tools. Anite, established in 1973 as Cray Electronics Ltd, is a supplier of testing, measurement, optimisation and analytics systems to the international wireless market.

Wed, 17/06/2015 Finsbury Food Group has added another company to its portfolio with the acquisition of Johnstone’s Just Desserts. The deal enables Finsbury to diversify into the foodservice cake channel.

Fri, 12/06/2015 The German tower crane manufacturer WOLFFKRAN has acquired HTC Plant. A WOLFFKRAN dealer since 1975, HTC Plant is a tower crane rental company with a fleet of more than 200 cranes.

Wed, 10/06/2015 The catering industry’s consolidation has continued as CH&Co and HCM Group merge. The deal creates a £200m turnover company which employs 4,500 people across 400 sites. Brands covered by the newly merged group include Ampersand, Charlton House, Lusso, Chester Boyd, Host, Catermasters and Couture.

Wed, 10/06/2015 HSBC is to cut up to 8,000 jobs in the UK as part of a global cost reduction exercise. The bank has also announced that its UK retail bank will be rebranded and that it is considering moving its headquarters out of the UK.

Tue, 09/06/2015 The investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has backed the £500m management buyout of the forecourt operator Motor Fuel Group (MFG). Previously owned by institutional investor Patron, MFG operates 373 stations under the BP, Shell, Texaco and Jet brands.

Tue, 09/06/2015 O2 has taken over sole ownership of the mobile marketing agency Weve, a joint venture set up by O2, EE and Vodafone. The change of ownership means that Weve now has access to the UK’s biggest first party mobile data set.

Tue, 09/06/2015 Apple is to launch Apple Pay in the UK in July. The service will allow iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch owners to use their devices to make payments in shops and on the London Underground by holding them near a contactless reader. Apple Pay works by storing the owner’s credit card details in a dedicated chip on the device. When a purchase is made the device account number and a transaction-specific dynamic security code are used to process the payment; the actual credit card numbers are not shared with retailers or transmitted with the payment.

Tue, 09/06/2015 BT has announced that consumers will have to pay at least £5 per month to watch Champions League and Europa League football from the start of next season. BT TV customers will access the channel for no additional cost, as BT attempts to grow its pay-TV service. BT paid £897m to prise the rights away from Sky for the next three seasons, and it has hired high-profile presenters and pundits such as Gary Lineker, Harry Redknapp and Steven Gerrard as it seeks to firmly establish itself as the UK’s leading broadcaster of live football.

Tue, 09/06/2015 The law firms Weightmans and Ford & Warren have announced they are to merge, creating a firm with 187 Partners and more than 1,400 employees. Weightmans specialises in general insurance, professional indemnity and healthcare.

Mon, 08/06/2015 Eurotunnel Group is to exit the cross-channel ferry market following its decision to sell MyFerryLink to DFDS.

Fri, 05/06/2015 Faccenda Investments has sold Hillesden Securities to Cabot Credit Management. Hillesden Securities, which trades as dlc, is an acquirer and collector of non-performing unsecured consumer debt. Cabot is a debt purchaser that acquires portfolios from organisations dealing in consumer finance such as HSBC, Barclays and Capital One.

Fri, 05/06/2015 The engineering companies GHD and GHA Livigunn have agreed to merge, in a deal which creates a UK operation consisting of 250 employees. Headquartered in Australia, GHD is an international network of engineers, architects and environmental scientists. GHA Livigunn has offices in Cheadle, Frodsham, Sutton Weaver, Leeds and St Albans.

Fri, 05/06/2015 Global Radio has bought the Liverpool-based music station Juice FM from UTV Media for £10m. Juice’s current playlist consists of artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Rita Ora and Jason Derulo.

Thu, 04/06/2015 The chancellor George Osborne has announced the government plans to sell its 30% stake in Royal Mail, which is currently valued at £1.5bn. This will complete a privatisation process which began in 2013, when Royal Mail shares were floated at 330p per share. The money raised from the sale will go towards the government’s £4.5bn debt reduction plan for 2015-16.

Thu, 04/06/2015 Pets at Home has announced impressive end of year results, with sales increasing almost 10% to £729m. Over the next year the retailer is moving to a divisional group structure, with new chief executives appointed to head up the newly created retail and service divisions respectively. In addition five new premium dog grooming spas, operating under the Barkers brand name, will be opened across the UK.

Wed, 03/06/2015 The Canadian commercial real estate company Brookfield Property Partners has announced it is to buy Center Parcs from funds managed by Blackstone. Established in 1987, Center Parcs expects to attract more than two million guests to five short break locations across the UK in 2015.

Tue, 02/06/2015 Mammoth Screen, the TV production company responsible for programmes such as Endeavour, Parade’s End and Poldark, has been acquired by ITV. The broadcaster previously held a 25% stake in Mammoth, with its distribution business (ITV Studios Global Entertainment) holding exclusive distribution rights for all Mammoth productions. This is the latest in a series of acquisitions as ITV strengthens the production side of its business. Mammoth co-founder Michele Buck is to step down as joint managing director, but she will continue as executive producer on Agatha Raisin, A Tale Of Two Cities and Lewis.

Tue, 02/06/2015 The motor auction and services group SMA Vehicle Remarketing has been taken over by BCA. The £43m deal includes SMA’s physical auction sites in Kinross, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle and Leeds.

Mon, 01/06/2015 Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has sold its electronic products division to Ultra Electronics for £174m. This division designs and produces integrated systems and subsystems for use in electronic warfare, radar, missiles, flight tests and simulations. The deal gives Ultra a greater presence in the fast growing electronic warfare market.

Mon, 01/06/2015 British American Tobacco has moved to strengthen its position in Central Europe with the £390m acquisition of the Croatian cigarette manufacturer TDR.

Mon, 01/06/2015 Playtech has gained additional regulatory licences in the UK and Australia with the £460m acquisition of Plus500, an online trading platform developer. Playtech, established in 1999, makes software for the gaming industry.

Fri, 29/05/2015 The IT infrastructure and data centre provider Equinix is to buy Telecity Group. Established in 1998, Telecity operates 39 data centres across twelve European cities. The £2.35bn deal strengthens Equinix’s position in the fast growing Western European data centre market.

Thu, 28/05/2015 Romanes Media Group has been acquired by Newsquest. Romanes publishes one daily, 19 weekly paid-fors and nine weekly frees in Scotland, Berkshire and Northern Ireland. Newsquest publishes more than 200 newspapers, magazines and trade publications.

Tue, 26/05/2015 Amazon is to start paying UK corporation tax on the profits it makes from its retail business in the UK. The US etailer has previously recorded its UK sales in the low tax regime of Luxembourg. The move follows the introduction of the Diverted Profits Tax, which imposes a 25% levy on profits generated in the UK by non-UK resident businesses.

Thu, 21/05/2015 The Financial Conduct Authority has imposed a financial penalty of £284,432,000 on Barclays Bank for failing to control business practices in its foreign exchange business. This is the largest financial penalty ever imposed by the FCA or its predecessor the Financial Services Authority. The FCA says that between 2008 and 2013 Barclays employees put Barclays’ interests ahead of those of its clients, other market participants and the wider UK financial system by sharing information about clients’ activities and attempting to manipulate currency rates in a way that could disadvantage those clients and the market. Last year the FCA fined Citibank, HSBC Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS for similar failings.

Tue, 19/05/2015 George Osborne has announced that there will be a Budget on 8 July. The unusual move to hold a second Budget just four months after the last comes in the wake of this month's General Election, which brought in a majority Conservative government. Osborne is expected to use the 8 July Budget to outline his plans to cut £12bn from welfare spending.

Tue, 19/05/2015 The rate of inflation has gone into negative territory for the first time since 1960. The Consumer Prices Index fell by 0.1% in the year to April 2015, compared to no change (0.0%) in the year to March 2015. The largest contributions to the downward movement were price falls in air and sea travel fares.

Mon, 18/05/2015 Javelin Group, a provider of retail strategy consulting and digital transformation services, has been acquired by Accenture.

Mon, 18/05/2015 Palatine Private Equity has backed the £13m management buyout of The Alchemist. Established in 2010, The Alchemist is a bar and restaurant brand with venues in Manchester, Leeds and London.

Fri, 15/05/2015 Endless has backed the secondary management buyout of the television shopping channel operator High Street TV, a company best known for bringing products such as Nutribullet, X-Hose, Zumba, Genie Bra and Shakeweight to the UK market.

Fri, 15/05/2015 Redhall Group has sold Redhall Engineering Solutions (RES) to Cape for £6m. RES is a £30m turnover business which specialises in providing maintenance services to the oil and gas industries.

Fri, 15/05/2015 The modern craft brewing company Meantime has been acquired by SABMiller. The deal enables SABMiller to establish itself in one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK beer market. In addition to growing the company further in the UK, SABMiller will explore European export opportunities for Meantime.

Fri, 15/05/2015 New Look has been acquired by the investment company Brait for £780m. Despite having a net financial debt of £1bn, Brait and New Look’s management team are “comfortable” with this leverage ratio because the company has strong cash flow generation, with a turnover of £1.5bn in 2014. Established in 1969, New Look currently has 569 stores across the UK.

Wed, 13/05/2015 Gateley has announced plans to become the UK’s first publicly traded law firm. The commercial legal business is to launch an initial public offering and application for admission of its ordinary shares to trading on AIM. Gateley can trace its history back to 1808 and provides legal services to over 5,500 clients across multiple sectors from offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Dubai. In 2014 the law was changed in England and Wales allowing non-lawyers to own and invest in law firms.

Tue, 05/05/2015 James Briggs, a manufacturer of aerosol and speciality chemicals, has acquired the business and assets of Premiere Products. Established in 1924, Premiere manufactures branded and private label janitorial cleaning products.

Thu, 30/04/2015 The used car hypermarket group CarCraft has ceased trading with the loss of 550 jobs. The Rochdale-based chain was founded in 1951 and had ten sites across the UK.

Tue, 28/04/2015 Kier Group has announced it is to buy the international infrastructure services and business services group Mouchel. The £265m deal sees Kier combine its local authority roads market expertise with Mouchel’s strength in strategic highways services to create a market leader in the UK’s highways maintenance and management sector. The Department for Transport is planning to invest £15bn in over 100 major schemes to enhance, renew and improve the UK’s road network.

Mon, 20/04/2015 Morrisons is to cut 720 roles at its head office while simultaneously recruiting 5,000 shop floor staff. The retailer says that it is ‘reshaping the way that its business is staffed’, with a view to improving service, increasing availability and opening more checkouts. Head office employees whose roles are being made redundant will be offered a role in a Morrisons store and some will be redeployed in other parts of the business.

Wed, 15/04/2015 Clydesdale Bank, the operator of the Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank brands, has been fined £20.6m by the Financial Conduct Authority for serious failings in its PPI complaint handling processes. The FCA found that between May 2011 and July 2013 Clydesdale’s PPI complaint handlers were not taking into account all relevant documents when deciding how to deal with complaints. In addition Clydesdale provided false information to the Financial Ombudsman Service when asked for evidence of the records the bank held on PPI policies sold to individual customers. The FCA says that up to 42,200 PPI complaints from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank customers may have been rejected unfairly and up to 50,900 upheld complaints may have resulted in inadequate redress for customers. Clydesdale will be reviewing all PPI complaints handled prior to August 2014 and offering compensation to those affected.

Wed, 15/04/2015 A £60m secondary management buyout of Adare Group has been completed, backed by the private equity firm Endless. Adare is a provider of global marketing procurement services.

Fri, 10/04/2015 The accountancy firms Chantrey Vellacott DFK and Moore Stephens are to merge, with the combined partnership trading as Moore Stephens. The Moore Stephens International network has a turnover of £1.9bn with offices in 103 countries.

Fri, 10/04/2015 The international online wine company Naked Wines has been bought by Majestic Wine. The £70m deal creates a multi-channel wine retailer, with Naked Wines' online service combining with Majestic’s nationwide network of stores. Rowan Gormley, founder and chief executive of Naked Wines, is to take over as chief executive of Majestic.

Wed, 08/04/2015 In one of the biggest M&A deals of the year, Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to acquire BG Group for £47bn. BG specialises in the exploration and production of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) products. The acquisition is expected to almost double Shell’s LNG capacity by 2018.

Tue, 07/04/2015 The UK division of PaperlinX has gone into administration with the immediate loss of 693 jobs. The paper merchant’s businesses include Paper Company Ltd, Howard Smith Paper Group Ltd, Robert Horne Group Ltd and PaperlinX Services (Europe) Ltd. The administrators say that 14 sites have been closed but the businesses will continue to trade from five sites to ‘secure the best value available from current stock holdings and other assets’. The administrators are attempting to find a purchaser for all or parts of the businesses. The UK packaging businesses of PaperlinX UK (Parkside Packaging Ltd

Thu, 02/04/2015 The online retailers Net-A-Porter and YOOX have agreed to merge. Richemont, the owner of a range of luxury brands, will have a 50% stake in the newly combined company. Established in 2000, Net-A-Porter is an online luxury fashion retailer. YOOX is an Italian company which specialises in fashion and design brands.

Wed, 01/04/2015 Marston’s has agreed to buy the trading operations of Daniel Thwaites' beer division. The £25.1m deal includes well known brands such as the Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber ales. In addition to the acquisition, Marstons’s has signed an exclusive agreement to supply all beer, wine, spirits and minerals to Thwaites' pub estate.

M&A Activity January to March 2015

Mon, 30/03/2015 Quindell’s professional services division, a provider of legal, claims management, health and medical reporting services, has been acquired by Slater and Gordon for £637m. Following the sale Quindell will focus on its insurance related technology businesses.

Fri, 27/03/2015 Geely, the Chinese owner of the London Taxi Company, is to invest £250m to build a new 85,000 square metre research, development and assembly facility in the Ansty area of Coventry. Up to 1,000 new jobs will be created through the investment in the site, which will eventually have the capacity to assemble up to 36,000 vehicles a year. The London Taxi Company is developing the next generation London Black Cab, an ultra-low emissions vehicle, which will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017. The new vehicle will comply with new regulations being introduced by the Mayor of London that will

Wed, 25/03/2015 HSBC is to set up a new headquarters in Birmingham for its retail bank, moving around 1,000 employees from its London office. The move is in response to legislation that forces banks to ring-fence their riskier investment banking activities from their retail banking businesses. Birmingham was the original base of Midland Bank, which was taken over by HSBC in 1992.

Wed, 25/03/2015 The food companies HJ Heinz and Kraft Foods Group have agreed to merge in a deal which creates the fifth largest food and drink company in the world. Heinz will own a 51% stake and Kraft a 49% stake in The Kraft Heinz Company. Heinz specialises in ketchup, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and baby food. Kraft is a North American grocery foods business. The deal does not include Mondelez International, owner of the Cadbury brand, which split away from Kraft in 2012.

Tue, 24/03/2015 In February the rate of inflation in the UK fell to zero, the lowest rate on record. The fall from 0.3% in January was due to downward price movements for data processing equipment, books, games, toys & hobbies, food and furniture & furnishings.

Fri, 20/03/2015 The Spanish bank Sabadell has agreed a £1.7bn deal to buy TSB, a challenger bank which specialises in retail and small business banking. TSB was formed following a European Commission ruling which insisted on Lloyds TSB being split into two separate companies. Sabadell believes the UK banking market, in particular the challenger bank sector in which TSB is a leading competitor, offers a strong regulatory framework, profitability and good growth prospects.

Wed, 18/03/2015 The research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie has been acquired by the American data analytics company Verisk Analytics. Established in 1974, Wood Mackenzie is a provider of commercial intelligence for the energy, chemicals, metals and mining sectors. The £1.85bn deal makes Verisk one of the leading providers of data analytics to the global energy market.

Wed, 18/03/2015 Arcadia Group has sold the retailer BHS to Retail Acquisitions Ltd. With 171 stores across the UK, BHS specialises in selling clothing, kitchenware, soft furnishings and accessories. Retail Acquisitions is a newly formed investment vehicle led by businessman Keith Smith, who aims to “return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce.”

Wed, 18/03/2015 Wolseley has moved to establish itself in the online bathroom retail market with the acquisition of BathEmpire.com. Established in 2009, BathEmpire.com has a turnover of £26m and has 150 employees.

Tue, 17/03/2015 The National Minimum Wage for adults is to increase by 20p to £6.70 per hour from 1 October 2015. From the same date the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will go up 17p to £5.30 an hour while the 16 to 17 year old rate will increase by 8p from £3.79 to £3.87. The National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices will increase by 57p from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour.

Tue, 17/03/2015 E-cigarettes, music streaming services, online console computer games subscriptions, headphones, mobile phone accessories and shop sales of craft beer have been added to the basket of goods and services that is used to calculate UK inflation. Other changes include the inclusion of protein powders, melons and sweet potatoes. Items being removed from the calculations include foreign exchange commissions, yoghurt drinks and sat navs. There are now 703 items that make up the CPI basket of goods and services. The Office For National Statistics collects around 110,000 individual prices each month.

Mon, 16/03/2015 A management buyout has been completed at the global technology systems provider SSP. The £207m deal is backed by the private equity firm LDC, which has taken a majority stake in the company. SSP specialises in providing IT systems and services to the general insurance industry, including 20 of the world’s largest underwriters.

Thu, 12/03/2015 The industrial printer manufacturer Domino has been bought by the Japanese company Brother for £1.03bn. Established in 1908, Brother manufactures printers, fax machines, labelling machines, typewriters and sewing machines. Domino hopes the deal will enable it to invest and compete in the fast developing digital printing sector.

Thu, 12/03/2015 ITV has acquired the The Voice creator Talpa Media. First broadcast in 2010, The Voice is now shown in more than 180 countries. The deal, worth an initial £355m, could eventually reach £781m.

Wed, 04/03/2015 The UK government has agreed to sell its 40% stake in the high speed rail operator Eurostar for £585.1m to a consortium comprising the fund managers Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Hermes Infrastructure. In addition Eurostar is to redeem the Government’s preference share, providing a further £172m for the exchequer. Since Eurostar services began in 1994, it has carried over 150 million passengers whilst sustaining traffic growth every year for the last decade. Peter Hofbauer, Head of Hermes Infrastructure, said: ‘Eurostar is a high quality asset providing a direct link between the UK and Europe that has historically offered attractive investment characteristics, including long-term stable and predictable cash flows’.

Mon, 02/03/2015 The Japanese company Nikon has agreed to take over Optos for £259.3m. Optos designs, develops, manufactures and markets ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices. The acquisition gives Nikon a strong foothold in a market expected to grow due to diabetes and an ageing population.

Mon, 02/03/2015 Game, the PC and video games retailer, has acquired Multiplay. Established in 1997, Multiplay specialises in running eSports tournaments for games such as Starcraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and DOTA 2. It is best known for the Insomnia gaming event, which it runs three times a year. The deal enables Game to strengthen its existing community-events and eSports programme, which in 2014 consisted of 150,000 consumers attending 3,000 midnight openings for new video game launches.

Fri, 27/02/2015 Reed Elsevier has renamed itself RELX Group. The information company says that the ‘shorter and more modern name reflects the transformation of the company to a technology, content and analytics driven business while maintaining the link with its proud heritage’. There will not be any brand or name changes for any of the company’s business units, which include Elsevier, LexisNexis, Shepard’s, Accuity and Reed Exhibitions.

Fri, 27/02/2015 Big Bus Tours, the UK-based global sightseeing bus tour operator, has been acquired by the private equity firm Exponent. Big Bus Tours, formed in 2011 when Big Bus Company and Les Cars Rouges merged, is a provider of open bus tours around 14 cities, including London, Paris and Shanghai.

Fri, 27/02/2015 The investment company Better Capital has sold Calyx Managed Services sold to MXC Capital for £9.0m. Calyx is a provider of ICT and cloud-based managed services.

Fri, 20/02/2015 The consumer packaging company Rexam, a manufacturer of 55 million beverage cans a year, has agreed to be taken over by the American company Ball Corporation. The £4.3bn deal creates a combined company which will serve the beverage, food, personal care, household product and aerospace industries. Established in 1880, Ball has more than 60 offices and manufacturing plants around the world.

Thu, 19/02/2015 Sales of the Raspberry Pi, the fastest-selling British made computer, have passed five million. It is now second in overall sales for British computers behind Lord Sugar's Amstrad, which sold eight million computers between 1984 and 1997. The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit card sized computer which aims to make learning fundamental computer skills affordable and accessible for children. It is owned by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity which directs all profits into research and development, free teacher training and free educational resources.

Wed, 18/02/2015 The Canadian insurance company Fairfax is to acquire Brit for £1.2bn. Brit is a global insurance and reinsurance company which specialises in commercial insurance and has two underwriting platforms.

Wed, 18/02/2015 The rate of inflation has fallen to its lowest level on record. The Consumer Prices Index grew by 0.3% in the year to January 2015, down from 0.5% in December 2014. As in recent months falling prices for motor fuels and food were the main contributors to the slowdown in the rate of inflation. However prices of other goods such as clothing and furniture continue to rise. Latest employment figures show that the number of unemployed people fell by 97,000 to reach 1.86 million, while the number of people in employment increased by 103,000 to reach 30.90 million. The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work was 73.2%, compared with 72.0% a year earlier. The employment rate last reached 73.2% in 2005 and since comparable records began in 1971 it has never been higher. However there are 9.05 million people aged from 16 to 64 who are out of work and not seeking or available to work.

Tue, 17/02/2015 William Hill’s offer to buy 888 Holdings for around £700m has been rejected as too low by the Gibraltar-based online casino business. The British bookmaker believes that 888’s technological expertise would complement its existing sports business. Merger and acquisition activity is expected to increase in the gambling sector following the introduction of the new ‘point of consumption tax’ that makes gambling firms liable to tax in the UK if their client lives here, regardless of where in the world the company supplying the service is based.

Tue, 17/02/2015 The data centre and managed services provider Telecity has agreed to merge with the Netherlands-based data centre services company InterXion.

Tue, 17/02/2015 Specialist Machine Developments, a manufacturer of equipment used in subsea engineering, has been acquired by the Chinese company CSR Corporation.

Tue, 17/02/2015 Environmental Evaluation, an environmental testing company which specialises in providing asbestos management services for the nuclear decommissioning industry, has been taken over by Exova Group. An increase in national and international regulations has seen an increase in demand for environmental testing services, and this deal means Exova is well placed to move into new market segments.

Tue, 17/02/2015 Findel has sold Kleeneze to the American company CVSL. Established in 1923, Kleeneze is a network marketing company.

Tue, 17/02/2015 The private equity firm CBPE Capital has bought a majority stake in the sofa and bed omnichannel retailer sofa.com. Established in 2005, sofa.com is planning to open new showrooms over the next five years.

Tue, 17/02/2015 The home technology company AlertMe has been acquired by British Gas for £44m. AlertMe already works with British Gas through its remote heating control product, Hive Active Heating.

Wed, 11/02/2015 The Premier League has concluded its latest broadcasting rights auction, with Sky maintaining its position as the main broadcaster of live Premier League football in the UK by winning five of the seven packages on offer, meaning it will continue to show games played at peak viewing times such as 4pm on Sunday afternoons and 8pm on Monday nights. The £4.2bn deal, giving it a total of 126 live games per season between 2016/17 and 2018/19, means Sky is paying 83% more for the rights to an additional ten games per season, a deal which reflects the importance of Premier League football to the broadcaster following the loss of Champions League and FA Cup football to BT Sport. The other two packages, covering 42 Saturday early evening and midweek fixtures, have been won by BT Sport, which is paying 30% more for an additional four games per season. In total the Premier League will be paid £5.136bn over the course of three seasons, an average of just over £10m per game.

Mon, 09/02/2015 Marine & General Mutual (M&GM), the UK’s oldest registered company, has agreed to be bought by Scottish Friendly in a deal which doubles Scottish’s assets to £2bn. M&GM was established in 1852 to provide insurance for teetotal seamen.

Mon, 09/02/2015 Towergate’s senior secured and senior unsecured creditors are to take over as majority shareholders, as the insurance intermediary reduces its net debt by 60%. The restructuring agreement will see a total of £375m of new capital invested in Towergate. The private investment firm Highbridge Principal Strategies will be the largest investor.

Fri, 06/02/2015 99p Stores, the retailer which sells goods priced at 99p or less at over 250 locations across the UK, has agreed to be taken over by Poundland. Established in 1990, Poundland is owned by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The £55m deal is conditional on the Competition & Markets Authority giving its approval.

Thu, 05/02/2015 Plans to expand London City Airport have been given the go-ahead by Newham Council. The planning decision gives the green light for a £200m investment that will enable the airport to increase the number of flights it operates to a permitted 111,000 a year, up from the 70,000 it currently flies. The expansion programme is expected to create 1,500 new jobs and bring greater levels of inward investment to East London. Declan Collier, chief executive of London City Airport said, “The development of the airport will culminate in 2023 when, having constructed seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and terminal extensions to the west and to the east, the airport will be welcoming some six million passengers every year”. London City Airport is the only airport actually in London and two thirds of its passengers are business travellers.

Thu, 05/02/2015 The European retailer AS Adventure has been acquired by the private equity firm PAI Partners. In the UK AS Adventure owns Cotswold Outdoor, which sells a range of products such as outdoor clothes, footwear, equipment and accessories for biking, climbing, skiing and camping.

Wed, 04/02/2015 AG Barr, owner of the soft drink brands Irn-Bru and Tizer, has acquired Funkin for £21m. Funkin is a provider of fruit purees, cocktail mixers and syrups to the on-trade channel and restaurants.

Wed, 04/02/2015 The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has sold Constructionline to Capita for £35m. Constructionline is a procurement and supply chain management service which launched in 1998.

Tue, 27/01/2015 The Office for National Statistics estimates that the rate of economic growth in the UK slowed to 0.5% in the final quarter of 2014. The rate of growth for the third quarter of the year was 0.7%. In the fourth quarter output increased by 0.8% in the services sector and by 1.3% in agriculture but decreased by 1.8% in construction and 0.1% in production. Gross Domestic Product for the whole of 2014 was up 2.6% on 2013. The estimate is subject to revision as more data becomes available, but revisions tend to be small.

Fri, 23/01/2015 The American private equity firm KKR has acquired thetrainline.com from Exponent Private Equity. thetrainline.com, which sells rail tickets to consumers and business online, was established in 1999 and currently has 4.7m active customers.

Fri, 23/01/2015 Hutchison Whampoa, owner of Three, has entered into exclusive negotiations with Telefónica regarding the acquisition of O2 for £10.25bn, in a move which would reduce the number of major mobile phone operators in the UK from four to three. The deal would see Telefónica exit the UK market and focus on Spain, Germany and Brazil, where it recently agreed to buy broadband operator GVT. O2 operates 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the UK, as well as owning 50% of Tesco Mobile. Rival operator EE is currently in discussions with BT regarding a multi-billion pound takeover.

Thu, 22/01/2015 Firefly BioWorks, an American developer of cellular technology, has been acquired by Abcam for £18.5m. The type of molecule that Firefly specialises in, microRNA, is one of the fastest growing areas of biomarker and scientific research.

Thu, 22/01/2015 Eversholt Rail, owner of 28% of the UK’s passenger train fleet, has been bought by a joint venture led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, the largest publicly listed infrastructure company in Hong Kong.

Thu, 22/01/2015 NCC Group has increased the range of services it offers with the acquisition of the Belgium and Luxembourg based Open Registry Group. The £15m deal means that NCC will now provide registry, registrar and trademark protection services in addition to web security.

Fri, 16/01/2015 Rex Features, Europe’s largest independently owned photographic press agency, has been acquired by the American licensed photographs provider Shutterstock for £22m. With offices in London and Los Angeles, Rex’s clients include magazines, websites, newspapers, agencies and broadcasters.

Fri, 16/01/2015 Birmingham City Council has agreed to sell NEC Group to the private equity firm LDC. The £307m deal includes the National Exhibition Centre, the Genting Arena, the Barclaycard Arena, and the International Convention Centre, venues which together attract four million visitors to 750 events. In addition, The Ticket Factory and the catering company Amadeus are included in the deal. Birmingham City Council will retain the freehold of all the NEC sites, which as part of the deal have had their existing uses protected.

Thu, 15/01/2015 The Spanish glass company Vidrala has acquired the container glass manufacturer Encirc. With two manufacturing plants in Northern Ireland and Cheshire, Encirc is one of the leading providers of container glass to the food and drink sectors.

Tue, 13/01/2015 The rate of inflation fell to 0.5% in the year to December 2014, down from 1.0% in November. This equals the lowest UK inflation rate since comparable records began in 1989. The main contributions to the fall came from the December 2013 gas and electricity price rises falling out of the calculation and the continuing drop in motor fuel prices.

Mon, 12/01/2015 Shire is to buy the American biopharmaceutical company NPS Pharmaceuticals for £3.5bn. NPS produces products which are used to treat gastrointestinal disease and endocrine disorders. Shire was paid £1bn by AbbVie in October 2014 following the breakdown of takeover talks between the two.

Fri, 09/01/2015XL Group has agreed a £2.7bn deal to acquire the global insurer and reinsurer Catlin Group. XL, established in 1986, is an insurance and reinsurance business which specialises in property, casualty and speciality products. Catlin, established in 1999, has over 50 offices in 25 countries worldwide. The acquisition will make XL one of the world’s largest underwriters in lines such as aerospace, fine art, political risk and crisis management.

Fri, 09/01/2015 Thetrainline.com has announced its intention to float on the London stock market. The company is the market leader in the online rail ticket market in the UK and is hoping to expand its presence in the rest of Europe. Thetrainline.com has been owned by the private equity firm Exponent since 2006.

Fri, 09/01/2015 Tesco has revealed its plans for the revitalisation of its business. These include closing the company’s Cheshunt head office and making Welwyn Garden City the group's base, closing 43 unprofitable stores, scrapping plans for 49 new stores and closing the company defined benefit pension scheme. In addition Tesco will not pay a final dividend to its shareholders in 2014/15 and is to explore options for the sale of its dunnhumby data business.

Fri, 09/01/2015 Circle Holdings is to pull out of its franchise to operate Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire, saying that ‘operating the franchise is no longer viable under current terms’. Circle took on the 10-year franchise in 2012 and has the right to terminate it if it needs to make support payments to Hinchingbrooke in excess of £5m. Circle has so far made payments totalling £4.84m. Under the contract, Circle could be required to make a final support payment of £160,000 to Hinchingbrooke. Circle blames the situation on ‘unprecedented increases in accident and emergency attendances, insufficient care places for patients awaiting discharge, and funding levels that have not kept pace with demand’.

Thu, 08/01/2015 Charter Court Financial Services has been granted a licence to launch a new challenger bank in the UK. Charter Savings Bank will be an online and telephone-based operation offering competitive rates across easy access, notice and fixed rate savings accounts. The new bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which guarantees eligible customers’ deposits up to £85,000. Paul Whitlock, formerly director of savings at Shawbrook Bank, has been appointed director of savings at Charter Savings Bank. Whitlock says “We will bring competitive rates and excellent, reliable service to a customer base which has too often been taken for granted by high street banks. A significant number of savers are dissatisfied and feel unrewarded in today’s economic climate and we intend to provide new options that meet their needs.”

Thu, 08/01/2015 The private equity firm Alchemy has taken a majority stake in Incisive Media, a provider of industry information in the form of databases, events, research, consultancy services and publications such as Legal Week, Accountancy Age and Computing.

Thu, 08/01/2015 Rentokil Initial has bought Peter Cox Property Care. Established in 1951, Peter Cox specialises in property preservation. The deal is part of Rentokil’s strategy of buying businesses in higher growth markets.

Thu, 08/01/2015 Tesco has strengthened its balance sheet with the sale of blinkbox and Tesco Broadband to TalkTalk. blinkbox, a movie and TV site offering online streaming services, will be integrated into TalkTalk’s existing TV business. TalkTalk is to use the acquisition to offer new services such as a TV app for use across a range of devices. Tesco Broadband provides services to around 95,000 households, who will transfer to the TalkTalk network in the next few months.

Wed, 07/01/2015 Johnson Service Group is to close 109 unprofitable dry cleaning shops during the first half of 2015. The company says that the high street dry cleaning industry continues to operate in a difficult environment and Johnson’s strategy is to develop alternative, more convenient collection and delivery locations, notably in partnership with Waitrose. There are currently 78 Waitrose stores offering a Johnson’s dry cleaning service with another 46 planned for the first quarter of this year. The remaining 198 better performing standalone dry cleaning branches are in more convenient locations with an infrastructure capable of receiving custom from various collection and delivery points. The larger textile rental side of the group’s business continues to perform well.

Tue, 06/01/2015 8over8 has been acquired by AVEVA, a provider of engineering IT software to the plant, power and marine industries. 8over8 is headquartered in Northern Ireland and develops risk management software which aims to reduce the risk of project cost and schedule overruns.

Tue, 06/01/2015 The Mobility Equipment Company (TMEC) has been acquired by Prism Medical. TMEC is a distributor and installer of specialist mobility equipment such as stair lifts. Prism Medical is a manufacturer and provider of specialist mobility and handling equipment.

Tue, 06/01/2015 The clothing retailer Bank Fashion Ltd has gone into administration. The Bury-based firm operates from 84 stores, primarily in the Midlands, North of England and Scotland and has 1,555 employees. Bank has been loss-making for several years. All Bank stores remain open and the administrators say that several parties have expressed an interest in the business.

Fri, 02/01/2015 The UK franchise of the American-styled restaurant chain TGI Fridays has been acquired by Electra Partners. The deal sees Electra Partners invest £100m of equity. There are 66 TGI Fridays restaurants operating across the UK.