Acquisitions and consolidations continue to be a feature of the sector with smaller entities being purchased by the bigger players although that has slowed. Trade buyers are selective but we have still had transactions involving trade buyers in the last few months. Private equity has become more prevalent especially as 2012 was a good year and 2013 is looking stable in the UK. The interest from private equity has meant prices have increased.
We have also been involved in transactions where clients have looked at securing finance from different lenders, however there are practical difficulties. Whilst a lender providing an invoice discounting line will take security over the book debts, this will be secured by a debenture over all of the assets and undertaking of the borrower. If the borrower then wishes to obtain a different form of funding from another lender the security position becomes more complex with ranking arrangements required to be put in place between the lenders and an added and often unwanted layer of complex to the transaction.