Monthly M&A Reviews
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March, 2017

The month concluded with two high-profile announcements: Firstly, UK Asset Resolution announced that Bradford & Bingley had agreed to sell two separate asset portfolios comprising performing buy to let loans for £11.8bn to Prudential and to funds managed by Blackstone; and secondly, the board of Marlin Bidco, a company jointly owned by funds managed or advised by Pollen Street Capital and funds advised by BC Partners announced a cash offer to acquire Shawbrook Group for c. £842m. There was further equity capital markets activity in the banking market with a number of share placings: Funds managed and advised by J.C. Flowers & Co. sold 24.3m shares in OneSavings Bank, representing c. 10% of its share capital, for gross proceeds of c. £96m; AnaCap Financial Partners sold 51.7m shares in Aldermore Group for gross proceeds of c. £113.7m following which AnaCap funds will be interested in c. 25% of its ordinary share capital; and Private & Commercial Finance Group announced that 40.0m new shares had been conditionally placed for gross proceeds of £10m, representing 23.5% of the existing share capital of the company. Elsewhere, HSBC Holdings announced the completion of the sale of two portfolios of predominantly US first lien and second lien residential mortgages for c. $3.4bn and for c. $1.5bn respectively. GLI Finance announced the completion of the secondary placing of its total holding in The SME Loan Fund for gross proceeds of £22.7m. 1PM announced the acquisition of Intelligent Financing, trading as Intelligent Loans, a brokerage engaged in the packaging of secured bridging loans, second charge loans and commercial mortgages for up to £2m.

February, 2017

In a quiet month for M&A, it was once again the high-street banks who captured the headlines. The Co-operative Bank announced that it was commencing a sale process alongside considering other options to build capital and meet the longer-term capital requirements applicable to all UK banks. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group announced that it had agreed with HM Treasury that a formal amendment will be sought to its State Aid commitments that will allow it to replace the divestment of Williams & Glyn with a package of remedies to promote competition in the SME banking market. Accordingly, CYBG announced that it had withdrawn its preliminary non-binding proposal for, and ceased discussions relating to, the Williams & Glyn operations.

Two challenger banks were also active: Atom Bank raised a further £83m in equity capital from existing major shareholders including BBVA, Woodford Investment Management and Toscafund Asset Management; and Monzo agreed a new £19.5m investment round with Thrive Capital, Passion Capital and Orange Digital Ventures as well as £2.5m via a crowdfunding round.

Ramsdens Holdings, the diversified financial services provider and retailer, announced the admission of its ordinary shares to trading on the AIM market of the LSE with a market capitalisation of £26.5m based on the placing price. Oxygen Finance, the early payment provider, acquired Satago, the on-demand cash flow finance solution for SMEs.

Elsewhere, GLI Finance announced that it was exploring a £22.7m secondary placing of its total shareholding in The SME Loan Fund and AnaCap Financial Partners announced the acquisition of a portfolio of Italian performing and non-performing corporate secured loans, with a gross book value of €177m, from Barclays.

January, 2017

 The leasing markets were active in January:  HgCapital announced the sale of Zenith, the largest independent vehicle leasing business in the UK, to Bridgepoint in a transaction totalling £750m; and vehicle funding and fleet management specialist, Fleet Alliance, acquired a controlling interest in Neva Consultants.

In the consumer finance market, Morses Club announced the acquisition of Shelby Finance, a provider of online instalment loans.  Ramsdens Holdings, the diversified financial services provider and retailer, announced its intention to seek admission of its shares to trading on AIM following an institutional placing which, if successful, will raise gross proceeds of c. £15.6m and give the company a market capitalisation of £26.5m based on the placing price.  NorthEdge Capital will hold c. 31% of the issued share capital upon admission.

Elsewhere, Funding Circle announced it had raised a further £82m in equity capital led by Accel with participation from existing investors, including Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Rocket InternetSands Capital Ventures, Temasek and Union Square VenturesTarget Group announced the purchase of the operating business of Commercial First, a commercial and residential mortgage servicer.   Maxxia acquired Capex Asset Finance, an independent asset finance brokerage, and Scottish Pacific Business Finance acquired trade and debtor finance business Sterling Trade Finance.