The UK is very much open for business; and that includes selling its companies to overseas buyers if data from Thomson Reuters is anything to go by.
Their mergers and acquisitions data reveals that in 2016 the UK retained its global third place for M&As, with the fall in the pound attracting overseas buyers looking to snap up UK companies.
Setting aside 2015 data which was skewed by a few large mergers; at over £116 billion, inbound M&As were some 67% up on the five-year average. Whilst this was partially offset by a fall in domestic deals, the figures still indicate a healthy M&A market place in the UK.
Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on who you ask. Mergers or acquisitions can help organisations to grow, to achieve cost-cutting through synergy, to acquire much-needed research or product lines, or simply to inject fresh impetus. However, studies reveal that the M&A failure rate sits somewhere between 70% and 90%.
This brings a tremendous challenge for leaders. Successful M&As require attention not simply to the legal and accountancy metrics but also to the culture and people aspect of organisations. Leading by example, engaging hearts and minds in the new strategy and anticipating barriers to change can all make a measurable difference to the success or otherwise of the proposed merger or acquisition.