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Why are private equity firms swooping on the UK stock market?

Buyouts of London-listed firms have soared in recent months
Why are private equity firms swooping on the UK stock market?
  • The private equity industry has built up record levels of cash during the pandemic to splurge on new deals
  • For buyout firms, many of the cheapest targets are in the UK

Private equity firms are going bargain hunting. Takeovers of London-listed companies have soared in recent months, as cash-rich buyout firms search for underpriced businesses to take private. Although the acquisitions boom is facing pushback from both campaigners and shareholders, it shows little sign of slowing down.

In the past four weeks alone, there have been at least nine proposed private equity takeovers of UK-listed companies, with many of the offers now in the process of seeking shareholder approval. Since the start of the year, some of the most high-profile deals completed by buyout firms include the £219m acquisition of roadside recovery specialist AA, and the £3.4bn takeover of jet servicing group Signature Aviation.

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