Overall, RSM advised on 166 completed deals in calendar year 2019, 8 per cent up on 2018, according to the latest Experian data. This was despite an overall decline in market activity which saw deal numbers fall by 13 per cent over the same period.
The total value of UK M&A deals in 2019 also dropped, down by more than 40 per cent from £361bn in 2018 to £206bn in 2019, the lowest level since the start of the decade.
Rob Donaldson, RSM's head of corporate finance commented:
'Unsurprisingly, some businesses were reluctant to pursue M&A opportunities in 2019, amid continued political wrangling over Brexit and rising global geopolitical tensions.
'Against that backdrop, I'm delighted that our corporate finance business closed more deals and rose a place in the national rankings. In a more difficult market there is a flight to quality and our success in advising business owners on selling to private equity investors in particular, who remain interested in well-prepared middle market businesses with strong growth potential, has helped us grow.
'We expect that the year ahead will be dominated by discussions on the nature of the UK's future trading relationships with its most important markets in the EU and the US. This along with the impact of the coronavirus may subdue activity in the first half of the year, but if we see evidence of progress in the negotiations and if the virus can be brought under control, this may help unlock pent-up demand.'