By Maximilian Clarke

Inward and outward [b]merger and acquisition[b/] activity in Q4 2011 surged £11.7 and £12.0bn respectively- the highest quarterly gain since 2010, Office for National Statistics figures show.

The value of inward acquisitions (acquisitions in the UK by foreign companies) rose to £11.7 billion in quarter four 2011 from £5.2 billion in quarter three. However the number of inward acquisitions fell to 37, compared with 70 acquisitions in quarter three. For 2011 as a whole, the total value of acquisitions in the UK by foreign companies was £32.0 billion, a similar value to that reported for 2009.

The value of outward acquisitions (acquisitions abroad by UK companies) also increased to £12.0 billion in quarter four from £6.8 billion in the previous quarter, an increase of 76 per cent. In contrast the number of outward acquisitions fell, from 76 reported in quarter three to 48 in quarter four. Overall in 2011, the total value of acquisitions abroad by UK companies was £50.8 billion, the highest value reported since 2007 (£57.8 billion).

The value of domestic acquisitions (acquisitions in the UK by other UK companies) increased slightly to £1.4 billion in quarter four from £1.3 billion in quarter three. The number of domestic acquisitions also fell, from 94 transactions reported in quarter three to 73 in quarter four. For 2011 as a whole, the total value of domestic acquisitions was £7.6 billion; the lowest value reported since 1993 (£7.1 billion) on current price basis.


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