See which East of England firms have made the biggest M&A deals so far this year

File photo of two people shaking hands. Photo: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

File photo of two people shaking hands. Photo: Oli Scarff/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The East of England has got off to a flying start in the M&A market in 2017 with £11bn of deals made in the first quarter.

The Experian Q1 M&A report showed there were 116 M&A and ECM deals announced in the region during the first three months of the year, a steep fall of 26% from the 157 transactions in the same period of 2016.

However, the value of these deals was significantly higher – up almost 20% year-on-year from £9.2bn to £11bn.

Legal advisers Mills & Reeve and Birketts, who both have East Anglia bases, made two deals each in the quarter to secure a place in the top ten for volume, while Howes Percival secured the 10th most profitable deal in the league table at £8m.

In the financial advisers league tables, Norwich-based Larking Gowen came in fifth place with three deals – equal to national advisory firm Grant Thornton – and RSM, which has an office in Bury St Edmunds, secured the eight most valuable deal at £55m.

The report said the East of England contributed to 8.5% of the total number of transactions recorded in the UK, while contributing to 14.4% of their value.

The highest value deal in the region was the sale of a £6.4bn stake in Arm Holdings – bought by Japan's SoftBank last year – to Vision Fund.

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M&As in 2016

Experian's M&A report for 2016 revealed it to have been the busiest year for deals since the financial crisis, with 7,155 deals made, up from 7,000 the year before and compared to 7,270 in 2007.

While the total value of British M&A fell by more than a third from £444bn in 2015 to £283bn last year, an uptick in deal-making in the lower and mid sections of the market helped buoy slower activity in the £100m-plus space.

In total 559 deals worth just under £40bn were made in the East of England – a 60% jump in value from 2015.

Mills & Reeve, which has an office in Norwich, was ranked seventh in the legal adviser league table for volume of deals with 107 notched up in 2016.

Meanwhile in the financial advisers league table, RSM, which has a base in Bury St Edmunds, and Grant Thornton, which operates in Norwich and Ipswich, were ranked third and fourth respectively with 132 and 128 deals.