BDO report reveals flurry of M&A deals in UK recruitment sector

A “booming UK M&A market” in the UK recruitment sector achieved its strongest volume in over 10 years, according to a new report by BDO.

The M&A boom, where either the bidder or vendor was from the UK, increased by 90%.

Rising from 21 completions in 2020 to 40 in 2021, the figure reflects an 11% increase of 11% above the previous peak before the pandemic (2018). BDO says: “UK recruitment businesses have proven to be an attractive place for investment for both private investors and trade buyers, with circa 93% of the deals involving a UK target.” In contrast, only around 83% of the UK deals had a UK bidder, BDO went on to say, “reflecting the global interest in UK targets”.

But the flurry of deals could slow down, BDO suggested. “Although the level of activity shows no sign of abating, it would be sensible to assume that the M&A environment might enter a period of stabilisation following a certain amount of pent-up deal activity being released as the effects of the pandemic settle.”

Among the areas showing increased dealmaking was recruitment platform/software, which accounted for 25% of the deals, up from 14% in 2020. Healthcare was another active area, with the proportion of deals in the space at 17% in 2021, down slightly from 20%.

• Watch for additional insight from the ‘BDO M&A Review: Recruitment' in further Recruiter bulletins.

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