Mergers and Acquisitions involving UK companies: Jan to Mar 2016

Transactions which result in a change of ultimate control of the target company and have a value of £1 million or more.

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Contact:
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Release date:
7 June 2016

Next release:
6 September 2016

1. Main points

In Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 there were 114 successfully completed domestic and cross-border acquisitions and disposals involving UK companies. Despite quarter-on-quarter volatility, the total number of M&A involving UK companies remains at a historically low level of activity.

There were 57 completed domestic acquisitions (UK companies acquiring other UK companies) reported in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, similar to the number seen at Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 (59 acquisitions).

The total value for domestic M&A transactions during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 was £11.6 billion, the highest value reported since Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2008 (£18.2 billion).

There were 29 completed inward M&A (foreign companies acquiring UK companies) in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, down from 49 in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015.

Although the number of transactions in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 has fallen compared to the previous quarter, the value of these transactions was £49.4 billion, the highest value recorded since Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2007 (£51.5 billion).

During Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 there were 22 successful acquisitions made abroad by UK companies, the lowest number of outward M&A reported since Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2013 (11 transactions).

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2. Your views matter

We aim to constantly improve this release and its associated commentary. We welcome any feedback you might have and are particularly interested to know how you make use of these data so that it may inform our work. For further information please contact us via email: ma@ons.gov.uk or telephone Michael Hardie on +44 (0) 1633 455923.

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3. Uses of Mergers and Acquisitions data

The estimates produced for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are vital and important components of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows data (inward and outward) and UK Balance of Payments statistics.

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4. Summary

This release covers mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions that have been successfully completed, result in a change of ultimate control of the target company and have a value of £1 million or more. Information on the number and value of transactions are reported, in addition to whether transactions are acquisitions or disposals.

Figures relating to mergers are included within acquisitions and those relating to demergers are contained within disposals. These statistics are presented on a current price basis, which are prices as they were at the time of measurement and are therefore not adjusted for inflation.

The quarterly numbers and value of M&A activity are prone to large quarter-on-quarter movements, as these data relate to specific “one time” only transactions. For example, a quarter can be heavily impacted by a single large transaction. Therefore it can be more appropriate to analyse trends over time.

Data published in this bulletin for all 4 quarters of 2015 have been revised in light of new information, and represent final estimates for 2015. No further revisions to data prior to Quarter 1 (January to March) 2015 have been made, therefore time series data for all quarters of 2014 and any previous historic quarterly periods remain unchanged.

During Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, the provisional estimates for the total number of successful domestic and cross-border M&A involving UK companies saw a lower level of activity when compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 and also with the same quarter of the previous year, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015.

There were a total of 114 successful domestic and cross-border M&A involving UK companies in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, valued at approximately £68 billion. This total includes 57 domestic acquisitions valued at £11.6 billion; 29 inward acquisitions valued at £49.4 billion; 22 outward acquisitions valued at £6.1 billion and 6 outward disposals valued at £0.7 billion.

The number of total successful domestic and cross-border M&A in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 represents a 42% fall on Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 (195 transactions) and a 13% fall on the number of M&A recorded at Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 (131).

Overall, during the first quarter (Jan to Mar) of 2016, and despite quarter-on-quarter M&A volatility, the total number of successful M&A involving UK companies remained broadly stable since the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.

Recent M&A statistics can be put into context by comparing the most recent quarter with consecutive 5 year intervals since 1997 (Table 1).

Average outward M&A

The quarterly average number of outward acquisitions during 1997 to 2001 (5 year interval) was reported as 128 completed acquisitions, with an average value of £159 million per transaction. The average number of outward acquisitions experienced a decline during the following 10 years, falling to a quarterly average of 67 outward acquisitions, with an average value of £119 million by the end of 2011. Between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2012 and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 the average number of outward acquisitions fell further, to a quarterly average of 29 transactions, with the average value per transaction increasing to £157 million.

During Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 the average value of the 22 completed outward acquisitions was £279 million.

Average inward M&A

Between 1997 and 2001, the quarterly average number of completed inward acquisitions was 54, with an average value of £183 million per transaction. The following 10 years (2002 to 2011) experienced relatively stable levels of M&A activity. However, between 2012 and 2015, the quarterly average number of inward acquisitions fell to 35, with an average value per transaction of £174 million during the 4 year interval, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2012 to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015.

The number of completed inward acquisitions fell to 29 in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016. However, the average value per transaction increased to approximately £1.7 billion due to the inclusion of a few successful acquisitions valued greater than £1 billion.

Average domestic M&A

During the 15-year period between 1997 and 2011, the average number of domestic acquisitions saw a downward trend. The quarterly average number of domestic M&A for 1997 to 2001 was 136, with an average value of £80 million. During 2002 to 2006 domestic M&A saw an increase in the quarterly average number of transactions (164) however, the quarterly average value per transaction saw a fall to £39 million. The following 5-year interval (2007 to 2011) saw the average quarterly number of domestic M&A fall to 121, with an average value per transaction of £40 million.

During the 4-year interval 2012 to 2015 the average value of the 59 completed domestic acquisitions was £28 million

In Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 there were 57 successful domestic acquisitions, with an average value of approximately £204 million per transaction.

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5. Transaction in the UK by other UK companies (Quarter 1 Jan to Mar 2016)

During Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, the number of successful M&A of UK companies by other UK companies (domestic M&A) saw a decrease when compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015, remaining well below levels seen before the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn. In contrast, the value of domestic M&A for Quarter 1(January to March) 2016 was the highest value seen since 2008 (Figure 1).

There were 57 completed domestic M&A during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, a 28% decrease compared with 79 acquisitions reported in Quarter 4 (Oct to Decr) 2015.

In contrast, year-on-year comparison for the number of successful domestic acquisitions between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 (47) and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 (57) saw an increase in M&A activity of 21%.

The value of domestic M&A transactions in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 saw a considerable quarter-on-quarter increase, reporting a value of £11.6 billion, up from the £1.2 billion in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015.

One high profile acquisition which accounted for the majority of the total value of domestic acquisitions (£11.6 billion) during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 was BT Group Plc of the UK, who acquired EE Ltd of the UK.

Year-on-year, Quarter 1 (January to March) 2016 saw the highest value for domestic M&A (£11.6 billion) reported since Quarter 4 (October to December) 2008, when a value of £18.2 billion was reported.

One other notable domestic acquisition which took place during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 was:

  • ITV Plc of the UK acquired UTV Ltd of the UK

The total number of domestic M&A can be split into those made by independently-controlled companies and those which are subsidiaries. The acquisition of an independent company means the purchase of a company in its entirety, whereas the acquisition of a subsidiary means the acquisition of a part of a company, between 50.1% to 100% ordinary share ownership.

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6. Transactions in the UK by foreign companies (Quarter 1 Jan to Mar 2016)

At Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 the provisional estimates for the number of M&A of UK companies by foreign companies, involving a change of majority ownership, continued to see historically low levels of inward M&A activity. In comparison, the value of inward M&A for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 was the highest since Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2007 (Figure 4).

There were 29 completed inward M&A of UK companies during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, 20 fewer than the number previously reported during Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 (49). At Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 the number of inward M&A was the lowest reported since Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 (28).

Despite the historical downward trend in the number of inward M&A made by foreign companies reported since Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014, the value of inward M&A at Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 (£49.4 billion) was the highest value seen since Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2007 (£51.5 billion).

Between Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, the value of inward M&A also saw an increase of approximately £40.2 billion (from £9.2 billion to £49.4 billion respectively).

One large publicly reported majority share acquisition accounts for the vast majority of the value of inward M&A in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016. This transaction involved Royal Dutch Shell Plc of the Netherlands, who acquired BG Group Plc of the UK.

Annual comparison of inward M&A between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 indicates that the number of successful acquisitions and mergers remain at similar levels of activity. There were 28 inward M&A which successfully completed during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 compared with 29 in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, a year-on-year increase of approximately 4%.

Other inward notable transactions, valued at £100 million or more that took place during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016:

The provisional quarterly estimates for the number and value of disposals of UK companies by foreign companies during Quarter 1 (January to March) 2016 have been suppressed in this bulletin to avoid any potential disclosure in this type of M&A activity.

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7. Transactions abroad by UK companies (Quarter 1 Jan to Mar 2016)

At Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, the provisional estimates for M&A of foreign companies by UK companies (outward M&A), involving a change of majority ownership, saw a decline in the number of successful transactions and therefore continued to report low levels of M&A activity.

The number of outward M&A made by UK companies involving a change of majority ownership in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 was 22, down from the 51 reported in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015.

Despite the decrease in the number of M&A abroad for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 the value of outward M&A saw an increase to £6.1 billion reported in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, up from £3.1 billion in Quarter 4 (Oct to Mar) 2015.

One large valued acquisition within the bio-pharmaceuticals industry accounted for the majority of the total value of the 22 outward successful acquisitions during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016. This acquisition involved AstraZeneca Plc of the UK acquiring a majority stake in Acerta Pharma, based in the Netherlands.

Year-on-year comparison of the number of outward acquisitions between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 (49) and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 (22) also saw an overall fall in outward M&A activity of 55%.

In Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 there were 6 completed outward disposals, with a total value of £0.7 billion, compared with 16 disposals in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 with a total value of £8.6 billion.

Other notable transactions, valued at £100 million or more, that took place abroad by UK companies in Quarter 1(January to March) 2016:

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8. Additional information

The M&A data and information in this release only includes data for acquisitions, mergers and disposals which are successfully and legally completed. As part of the production process we also identify announced and agreed M&A transactions.

The following notable M&A transactions will feature in future releases:

Just Retirement Group Plc acquired Partnership Assurance Group Plc

Ten Alps Plc acquired Stracker Films Ltd

Centrica Plc acquired ENER-G Cogen International Limited (“ENER-G Cogen”)

Liberty Global Plc acquired Cable and Wireless Communications Plc

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9. How our statistics compare with external evidence

Global merger, acquisitions and disposals activity is often driven by the availability of credit and company profits, as well as a sense of confidence in the economic outlook. The majority of large M&A transactions involve some element of borrowing or leveraging. Therefore when credit conditions deteriorate, as happened in the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn, M&A activity declines. On the other hand, the process of completing an M&A transaction takes time and sometimes there is a lag between improving economic conditions and any quarter-on-quarter increase in M&A activity.

The Agents Summary Report for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016, produced by the Bank of England (BOE), reported that business investment intentions had eased, mostly reflecting increased caution in the face of heightened global uncertainty. Increased global economic uncertainty was reported to have slowed the flow of mergers and acquisitions activity for some intermediaries.

The BOE’s Credit Conditions Review for Quarter 1 2016 reported that overall, credit availability remained plentiful for large companies, despite a slight tightening on the quarter. The assessment of the bank’s agents was that credit availability to large companies remains “looser than normal” though had tightened slightly in Quarter 1 because of less favourable conditions for capital market issuance. Major UK lenders suggested that demand had fallen slightly for some firms, partly reflecting less refinancing activity and partly concerns about the global outlook.

The Office for Budget Responsibility reported in its Economic and fiscal outlook report (March 2016) that bank lending to both large businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has generally contracted, on an annual basis, over the past few years. The effect of restricted credit availability has been more severe for SMEs, as they are unable to raise funding though non-bank sources, such as the issuance of bonds or equity. While net lending to large businesses continued to contract on an annual basis in 2015, there was some evidence of an easing in credit conditions for SMEs towards the end of the year, with annual net lending growth turning positive from September.

Experian, a global information services company, stated in its M&A Deal and League Tables Review for Quarter 1 2016 that: "The UK’s M&A market has slowed so far this year. A more cautious approach, particularly evident amongst the large corporate, alongside reduced private equity activity, market volatility and fewer deals involving UK SMEs, has produced a more subdued start to the year than many expected”.

Bureau Van Dijk – a leading provider of private company, corporate ownership and deal information – stated in its Quarterly M&A Activity Report, Global Q1 2016, that both the volume and value of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) declined in the first quarter (Jan to Mar) of 2016, compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec)2015.

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10 .Background notes

1. Overview of Mergers and Acquisitions:

The M&A estimates are analysed and produced to measure investment data for:

(i) Investment in the UK by UK companies (Domestic investment)
(ii) Investment/Disinvestment in the UK by foreign companies (Inward investment/disinvestment)
(iii) Investment/Disinvestment in foreign companies by UK companies (Outward investment/disinvestment)

Within ONS, M&A data are essential for producing the National Accounts. The survey results form important components of the UK Balance of Payments and Financial Accounts and are vital in the measurement of the financial and non-financial business sector accounts. M&A data is used in the compilation of the estimates for Foreign Direct Investment and additionally used by other government departments when preparing ministerial briefings. For example, HM Treasury, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Trade & Investment and HM Revenue and Customs. The M&A data estimates are also used by foreign embassies, economists and academics for research purposes and for periodic statistical comparisons.

2. Basic quality information

The Quality and Methodology Information for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) surveys report describes in detail the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

3. Relevance to users

The degree to which the statistical outputs meet users’ needs.

Within ONS, the mergers and acquisitions data are considered to be essential for producing the National Accounts. The survey results form important components of the UK Balance of Payments and Financial Accounts and are vital in the measurement of the financial and non-financial business sector accounts.

The Cross-Borders Acquisitions and Mergers survey (M&A) data are used in the compilation of the estimates of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). These data meet the needs of FDI by collecting data on all acquisitions which lead to a holding in excess of 10% of the issued share capital. These estimates then feed into the UK Balance of Payments and the “Rest of the World” sector of the financial accounts in the National Accounts, for which there is an EU legal requirement. Individual transaction information is also used to estimate the counterpart in “portfolio” investment flows for monthly Balance of Payments.

The data collected are also used in updating business structures and country of ownership codes on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR).The IDBR is a comprehensive list of UK businesses that is used by government for statistical purposes.

Elsewhere in government, examples of departments who use the data include:

  • HM Treasury, Economic Analysis Division, where the data are used in preparing briefing and forecasting
  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, where direct investment data are required for ministerial briefing, parliamentary questions and in formulating trade policy
  • UK Trade & Investment, where the information is used for briefing on the extent to which the UK is successful in attracting inward investment
  • HM Revenue and Customs, where the data are used to help in forecasting company taxation

Non-government users include:

  • private companies which are interested in analysing country and industry data for trends by foreign firms in the UK and by UK companies abroad and also for researching corporate finance activity and for the purpose of investment banking
  • UK embassies in foreign countries, who are interested in information on specific countries and companies making acquisitions
  • private sector economists, journalists and academics who are interested in information on particular industries and particular countries for research purposes and who use the data for periodic statistical comparisons

Feedback from users has indicated that the information received from the M&A survey has a high degree of relevance across the above user groups, meets the vast majority of user needs, and all information currently collected and published is used.

Source of data

The information collected is based on reports in the financial press, specialist magazines, company and financial websites supplemented by special surveys to businesses to determine the form, value and timing of each transaction.

If the information is not yet in the public domain, such transactions may not be reflected in the analysis. Where full information has not yet been received on the details of the acquisition or disposal, the value of the transaction indicated in the public domain is used as an interim estimate.

The data shown in this release relate solely to mergers and acquisitions undertaken by companies: acquisitions by individuals are not included.

This publication contains data relating mergers, demergers, acquisitions and disposals. Figures relating to mergers are included within acquisitions and those relating to demergers are contained within disposals.

ONS makes every effort to provide informative commentary on the data in this release. As part of the quality assurance process, individual businesses are contacted in an attempt to capture reasons for large period on period data movements. It can prove difficult to gather detailed reasons from some businesses to help inform the commentary. Frequently, reasons given for data movements refer to a “change in market conditions” or a “restructure of the company”. Consequently, it’s not possible for all data movements to be fully explained.

ONS are aware that a number of users make use of these data for modelling or forecasting purposes. In doing so, it is important that users make note of our revisions policy and that all time series are on a “current price” basis, which means that the values are as they were at the time of measurement and not adjusted for inflation. Acquisitions and disposal activity can be affected by UK and global economic and political issues and therefore quarterly estimates can be volatile.

One question often asked of the M&A release is “why is there a time delay between the announcement of M&A transactions in the press and the inclusion of these transactions within ONS M&A figures?“ The difference is that ONS figures record when a transaction legally completes as opposed to when the transaction has been announced in the press. The complexities surrounding the acquisitions/disposals taking place often incurs a time lag, which can vary between quarters.

4. Significant transactions

Significant transactions tables show the reported figures for a selection of significant transactions which occurred in the quarter, where “significance” is defined as the absolute value of the deal.

The information shown is taken from each relevant company’s press release which is available within the public domain. A direct link to each press release is provided. Should a company request that details of the transaction be kept confidential then the deal is excluded. However, the values are included in the aggregate tables. Occasionally, therefore, a large deal may be missing (suppressed) from the lists so it is best to regard these tables as an indication of the ranking of deals rather than a completely exhaustive listing.

Press reported figures for M&A transactions often differ to some extent from those supplied by companies to ONS and it is the latter which are used in compiling statistical aggregates in tables 1 to 10. Included in the prices quoted in the tables of significant transactions is the total published price paid for the company excluding any assumed debt where known. Deferred payments are included in the reported price even if the payment is made in a different quarter.

5. Types of transactions covered

Mergers are acquisitions in which all or part of the payment is made in shares, such that the shareholders of the two companies become shareholders of a new, combined company group.

Demergers are disposals where a company group divides into two or more separate companies, in such a way that the shareholders of the restructured companies remain the same, or retain the equivalent value shareholding in one of the newly independent companies. Demergers are included in the statistics within disposals.

Acquisitions are transactions which involve one company purchasing the ordinary shares of a second company (“target company”). A target company is usually of a smaller size than the company undertaking the purchase.

Disposal is a term used to describe the action when a company or organisation sells or liquidates the ordinary shares of a second company (“target company”).

Cross-border acquisitions denote transactions where a company in one country acquires, either directly or indirectly, a controlling interest in a company in another country.

Direct transactions are those where a company acquires a controlling interest in another company.

Indirect transactions are those where a company uses an existing foreign subsidiary to acquire a controlling interest in a company resident in another country. The acquiring foreign intermediate company may be located in the same country in which the acquisition is being made or in a different country.

Acquisitions within the UK by other UK companies denote mergers and acquisitions involving only UK registered companies.

Where the acquired company was a subsidiary of another company the transaction is classified as a sale between company groups.

The phrase “acquisitions in the UK by UK companies” refer to deals where the ultimate ownership remains in the UK. This heading does not cover the total number or value of deals where a UK company is the acquirer. When a foreign company acquires a UK company through one of its existing UK subsidiaries or a UK registered special purpose vehicle that deal is shown as part of the data under “acquisitions in the UK by foreign companies”.

Acquisition of independent companies

The acquisition of an independent company means the purchase of a company in its entirety – the company itself and all of its subsidiaries

Acquisition of subsidiary companies

The acquisition of a subsidiary company means the purchase of part of a company.

6. Financing

This statistical bulletin provides details of the application of funds to effect mergers and acquisitions and the proceeds raised from disinvestments and demergers.

For indirect foreign transactions there is the added complication of considering the movements of funds either as capital injection or in the form of loans between parent companies and their foreign subsidiaries making the acquisition. Occasionally, the foreign subsidiary obtains the funds required partly or entirely outside the UK from sources such as:

  • own resources
  • borrowing from banks and other local sources
  • share, bond and other capital or notes issued abroad

Also, a transaction may be funded by more than one method.

7. Definitions of geographic and economic areas

8. Revisions

Data for all 4 quarters of 2015 have been revised in the light of new information, and so revisions to the data for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Quarter 3 (July to Sept) and Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 have been published in this statistical bulletin. No further revisions to data prior to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 have been made. Therefore time series data for all quarters of 2014 and any previous historic quarterly periods remain unchanged.

Annual data tables for 2015 are produced in conjunction with the Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2015 and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 data outputs. Revisions to the 2015 quarterly and annual figures were recalculated at Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 only. Therefore no revisions to annual data prior to 2014 have been made and subsequently time series data for previous historic annual periods remains unchanged.

Revisions to the aggregates used in M&A principally occur for the following reasons.

Completion of transactions

On announcement of a proposed transaction an expected completion date is usually given. The publicly reported values will be allocated to the quarter of expected completion. If the transaction is ultimately completed in an earlier or later quarter, the recorded values will be reallocated to the new quarter.

Publicly reported values

Publicly reported values are initially used to compile the aggregates. These can vary considerably from the values ultimately supplied by the respondents, frequently because the assumption of debt has been included in the publicly reported value. A nominal value is applied if no publicly reported value is available. The final values used to create the aggregates are those supplied by the respondent.

Non-completion of transactions

On announcement of a proposed transaction the publicly reported value of the transaction is recorded. If the transaction does not subsequently take place the recorded value will be deleted.

Non-share transactions

On announcement of a proposed transaction it may appear that there will be transactions in the share capital of the companies involved and the publicly reported values will be recorded. If subsequent information contradicts this the recorded values will be amended or deleted.

Control

On announcement of a proposed transaction it may appear that the transaction will give the purchasing company control of the purchased company, that is, a share ownership of greater than 50%. If subsequent information contradicts this the recorded values will be amended or deleted.

Revisions from respondents

Very occasionally respondents revise the values that they have previously supplied to ONS. The revised values are those used to create the aggregates

Analysing average revisions between provisional and final estimates can provide an indication of reliability in an initial statistic. Provisional statistics may be based on less information than is available for final statistics as they have been processed more quickly to meet the demand of customers. By looking at these average revisions it can help us determine whether revisions are being made consistently in one direction i.e. if early estimates are consistently under or overestimating the later figures. A test is subsequently performed on these average revisions to determine if they are statistically different from zero. Revisions that are not statistically significant imply that an average revision might be non-zero simply through random effects.

9. Response rates

10. Notes to Tables

The deal identification threshold was increased at Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2010 to a value of £1.0 million from a previous value of £0.1 million. As a consequence there is a discontinuity in the value and number of deals reported from Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2010 onwards compared with previous periods.

Symbols used in the tables are:

.. Figure suppressed to avoid disclosure of information relating to individual enterprises.

– Nil or less than half the final digit shown.

The sum of constituent items in tables may not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

11. Disclosure

It is sometimes necessary to suppress figures for certain items in order to avoid disclosing information about an individual business. Further information on why data are suppressed is available in the ONS Disclosure Control Policy.

12. Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to Parliament. ONS is the UK government's single largest statistical producer. It compiles information about the UK's society and economy, and provides the evidence-base for policy and decision-making, the allocation of resources, and public accountability. The Director General of ONS reports directly to the National Statistician who is the Authority's Chief Executive and the Head of the Government Statistical Service.

The UK Statistics Authority has reviewed this publication in their report “Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics”: Statistics of International Transactions, which was published on 8 December 2011. This review recommended that the Mergers and Acquisitions estimates be designated as National Statistics, subject to ONS carrying out certain requirements. ONS met all of these requirements on 3 May 2013.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs
  • are well explained and readily accessible
  • are produced according to sound methods
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

Once statistics have been designated as national statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

13. The Government Statistical Service (GSS)

The Government Statistical Service is a network of professional statisticians and their staff operating both within the Office for National Statistics and across more than 30 other government departments and agencies.

14: Government Statistical Service (GSS) Business Statistics

To find out about other official business statistics, and choose the right data for your needs, use the GSS Business Statistics Interactive User Guide. By selecting your topics of interest, the tool will pinpoint publications that should be of interest to you, and provide you with links to more detailed information and the relevant statistical releases. It also offers guidance on which statistics are appropriate for different uses.

15. Discussing ONS Business Statistics Online

There is a Business and Trade Statistics community on the StatsUserNet website. StatsUserNet is the Royal Statistical Society’s interactive site for users of official statistics. The community objectives are to promote dialogue and share information between users and producers of official business and trade statistics about the structure, content and performance of businesses within the UK. Anyone can join the discussions by registering via either of the links.

16. Media Contact Details

Telephone: Media Relations Office +44 (0)845 6041858
Emergency on-call: + 44 (0)7867 906553
Email: media.relations@ons.gov.uk

Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available on the UK Statistics Authority website.

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11 . Methodology

Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Michael Hardie
michael.hardie@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 1633 455923