PwC predicts a vibrant 2016 in the East for mergers and acquisitions

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The corporate team at PwC saw the value of deals it advised on reach £1bn for 2015, and is predicted a vibrant 2016.

The firm said its corporate M&A activity ranged from supporting large, listed FTSE 250 corporates and increasingly to small, owner-managed businesses.

Deals director Mark Addley said: 'We are seeing an increasing number of inbound investors, notably from the US, looking at investment opportunities in the region - but local businesses are also conscious of the need to invest in growth in order to remain competitive and become more cost efficient in a price sensitive market'

The firm said there had been a notable increase in deals activity, with PwC advising more than 50 clients during the year.

Looking ahead into 2016, the firm said while there was risk of the anticipated interest rate increases and tightening credit markets acting to dampen deal activity, it expected:

• The rise in smaller transaction volumes would continue;

• Strategic alliances ramping up, especially related to cross-border transactions;

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• Private equity buy-side activity would remain increasingly focused on alternative ways to deploy capital and become a solution for companies beyond traditional buyouts;

• Shareholder activism would increase in profile

• Technology, pharma and life sciences, and industrial product sectors would remain very active; and,

• IPOs would pick up again despite valuations coming down slightly as investors look to rationalise private valuations with public.

Stephen Hart, PwC East deals team leader said: 'We are also working with more organisations outside of the larger towns and cities in the region (particularly companies along the A12 corridor) who are seeking the combination of in-depth technical expertise and/or global coverage especially in the developing countries, breadth of service (from lead advisory through due diligence and into Share Purchase Agreement negotiation and support) and local accessibility and experience offered by our East PwC Deal Team.

'In particular, we have seen a rise in the number of smaller transactions (£5-10m) in the region, particularly in the technology, oil and gas and manufacturing sectors.'