The total value of UK private equity club deals reached £19.7bn last year, a fourfold increase from the £4.5bn in 2019.

Moreover, the number of club deals has reached a three-year high as there were 56 deals in 2020, a jump of 30 per cent from 43 the year before, according to new data that City law firm Pinsent Masons shared with City A.M. this evening. A ‘club deal’ is when two or more private equity or trade buyers jointly acquire a company. One of the biggest club deals of recent years was the £6.8bn acquisition of supermarket chain Asda, in October last year by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital.

Lower levels of debt

The impact of covid-19 on the economy has caused some lenders to exercise more caution on leveraged buyouts in those sectors most affected by the lockdown. By increasing the equity slice, club deals allow buyers to use lower levels of debt financing, explained City-based Alasdair Weir, partner at Pinsent Masons, “Sellers will typically look more favourably on a purchaser that does not have to arrange a large debt financing,” he told City A.M.

By pooling their fire power, club deals allow groups of investors to buy bigger targets and share risk. In some cases this can reduce the amount of leverage needed, allowing deals to be equity funded more quickly and with more certainty, Weir added.

Read more/Source: City A.M.