The Thames Valley region’s credentials as the ideal location for dynamic and ambitious companies to thrive will mean it will continue to attract investor interest in 2022, according to Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Reflecting on an “outstanding” 2021 for deals, Peter Jennings, Corporate Finance Partner at Grant Thornton is confident the high concentration of entrepreneurial and technology-focused businesses in the region – which after London is the UK’s fastest-growing regional economy – will lead to further activity this year.

During 2021 the team advised on 15 deals with a cumulative value of more than £750m. Over half of the deals were cross-border transactions, including the sale of defence consultancy Harmonic to US company KBR Inc, the sale of compliance software company Hamilton Grant to US based FoodChain ID and the investment in BAFTA-winning Surrey-based games developer Supermassive Games by Danish group Nordisk Games.

Peter says: “After an outstanding 2021 we are confident of maintaining our momentum this year.

“Private equity firms continue to be very active in the mid-market and ready to pay good multiples for the right business, particularly those in business support services, TMT, including digital infrastructure and data.

“In 2021 there was also a marked uptick in overseas trade buyers, especially from the US, acquiring UK assets and competing very strongly with Private Equity, and this is something we are continuing to see this year. There are several factors for this including the need to access the UK market post Brexit.”

He adds: “With close proximity to London and its outstanding talent pool and global connectivity, and a cluster of fast-growing and innovative mid-market technology-focused businesses, I am very confident the Thames Valley region will continue to be a deal-making hotspot in 2022.

“With concern over potential changes to capital gains taxes persisting, I believe many business owners will continue to review their options, which will also drive volumes in the near term.”

Nationally, after a record year of activity, Grant Thornton has been ranked the UK’s number one financial adviser by deal volume, in the latest Experian MarketIQ M&A Review.

The firm’s deals and business consulting practice completed 295 transactions overall with a disclosed transaction value of over £10bn.