Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the UK rose to £157 billion in 2017, the second highest total since the onset of the global financial crisis nearly a decade ago. These deals – in which a UK company was the target – also increased in volume, as 1,543 companies were taken over, up from 1,493 according to figures released by Mergermarket. This is despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its impact on the UK economic outlook.
It has been a tricky environment for UK equity income investors in 2017 so far, with a number of stock and sector-specific issues. For example, companies such as AstraZeneca and Provident Financial suffered significant share price falls, whilst the shock announcement from the US Food & Drug Administration on future tobacco regulation had a big impact on the sector.