Brexit uncertainty has put floats and takeovers on hold, KPMG says

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Uncertainty sparked by the Brexit vote is causing companies around the country to put a freeze on stock market flotations and attempted takeovers, according to one of the leading advisers in the field.

British companies could also become prey for foreign predators, according to accountants at KPMG, which on Wednesday appointed a partner to take on the newly created role as head of Brexit.

Karen Briggs, already a senior partner at KPMG, said the firm was trying to encourage customers to look over a two-year time horizon as well as responding to the near-term factors but said a potential Brexit is stalling activity.

She said mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and stock market flotations were sectors where deals were being put on hold.

“We are the largest M&A adviser by volume and we have seen half a dozen deals we are working on put on hold in the wake of the vote outcome. Whether this is a short-term wobble or has more lasting ramifications remains to be seen at this stage,” said Briggs.

“We are also engaging international clients and are observing, interestingly, predatory intentions from other European nations considering what competitive advantage a Brexit might mean for them,” she added.

Her remarks follow a warning by the Bank of England on Tuesday that uncertainty about the referendum has already delayed major economic decisions, such as business investment, construction and housing market activity.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, held on 23 June, a survey by the Institute of Directors found that the majority of businesses believed Brexit was bad for them and would trigger investment cuts, hiring freezes and redundancies.

However, some deals are still being announced. On Wednesday, insurer Legal & General sold a pubs business to Caledonia Investments, and shareholders in the London Stock Exchange have approved the merger with Deutsche Börse.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jill Treanor City editor, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 6th July 2016 12.25 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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