Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by UK companies abroad reached a 17-year high in 2017, but inward M&A slumped. The total was dominated by the completion of two high-value deals: the merger of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company with the UK household goods multinational Reckitt Benckiser and the merger between Reynolds American and UK tobacco multinational British American Tobacco. There were 150 successful outward M&A transactions, a slight increase on the 141 acquisitions recorded in 2016, but lower than the 170 successful acquisitions recorded in 2015. The value of inward M&A — foreign companies acquiring UK companies — was £35.3 billion in 2017, an 81% decrease compared with the exceptional £190 billion value recorded in 2016, but higher than values recorded between 2011 and 2015.
Manufacturing output continued its expansion in the New Year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In the three months to January, factory output increased by 0.9% compared with the previous three-month period ending October 2017. The increase was lower than the 1.3% increase for December, but was the seventh consecutive period where manufacturing output has posted an increase. The more volatile monthly figures show a 0.1% increase in manufacturing output in January 2018 compared with December 2017, while the increase on the same month a year ago was 2.7%.