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Grant Thornton upbeat amid strong demand for ESG businesses

Grant Thornton UK LLP’s Thames Valley Corporate Finance team is predicting a strong year of deal activity, particularly for businesses with great ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) credentials.

On the back of a buoyant 2022, where the team in Thames Valley led 18 deals with a total value of more than £510m, Grant Thornton was recently revealed as the second most active advisory in the South East, according to Experian Market IQ’s 2022 report.

Director at Grant Thornton in the Thames Valley Nigel Le Bas said: “Following two record years at Grant Thornton, and despite some of the macro-economic noises, we remain extremely busy across all sectors, and so Matt joins us at an exciting time.

“Notably we have seen a marked uptick in the appetite from investors and buyers for companies with strong ESG credentials. Personally, I am working on numerous ESG consultancies as energy transition, biodiversity and sustainability are high on the agenda for most businesses who need to adhere to greater regulatory demands.”

This follows a highly successful year for Grant Thornton’s 136-strong M&A team having advised on 215 deals in 2022. This included 101 private equity deals, 68 cross-border deals, equating to £8.8bn total deal value.

In Thames Valley the team advised on nine private equity deals, seven cross-border deals and two employee ownership trust (EOT) transactions.

Nigel Le Bas continued: “The team enjoyed a tremendous 2022, which has been down to the strong relationships we build, and the deep understanding we obtain of our clients’ needs and businesses. This has been vital in a world experiencing economic and political uncertainty. Despite these challenges, the team has delivered cracking results for clients, illustrating our ability to provide clients with advice on a range of options be it private equity, a cross border sale or an alternative option, such as selling to an EOT.”

Highlights included the sale of marketing-leading global digital marketing agency bChannels in February, the sale of Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) – a biologics development and manufacturing facility near Oxford – and the sale of award-winning gaming house Supermassive Games to Nordisk Games in July.

Neil Jones, CEO of the Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre Limited, said: “Grant Thornton were real driving force, helping support and balance the needs of multiple stakeholders whilst maximising the deal value.”

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