2021 UK Food and Beverage Sector M&A deal value at record levels since 2010

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The UK F&B market continued its strong performance into the last four months of the year with total deal volume amounting to 29 transactions. Compared to 2020, total deal volume for the year was up 50.8% to 89 transactions. The total deal value for T3 2021 was estimated at £722.1m. This boosted the 2021 annual deal value to an estimated £6.6bn, which is the largest annual deal value we have recorded since 2010.

Further highlights include:

  • The appetite from financial investors remained strong throughout 2021, in volume terms they accounted for 20.7% of total deal activity compared to 20.3% in 2020
  • When comparing deal activity from financial buyers in value terms there was a significant increase in both absolute value (2021: c. £2.6bn vs 2020: c. £380.0m) and the proportion of total deal value (2021: 39.3% vs 2020: 25.5%)
  • Driving this activity is the relative defensiveness of the sector’s cashflows combined with loose monetary policy which has led to an inflow of funds into private equity companies as well as a low cost of debt.
  • Overseas buyers had another active year, accounting for 39.1% of total deal volume. Interestingly, this was the highest percentage of non-UK corporate buyers involved in UK F&B deals since 2010.

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