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Missing EU already

The UK has traditionally been the biggest destination of M&A in Europe. Katharine Dennys looks at recent deal making between Britain and the other EU member states and asks what the future holds.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU cast a shadow of uncertainty over deal making from June last year through to the end of 2016. But since prime minister Theresa May stated her aim of a “clean Brexit”, and the UK’s removal from the single market, the outlook for 2017 appears a little clearer.

Of course, dealmakers are still concerned about whether the UK will maintain its status as a centre of European investment, with radical shifts in trading policy and regulation under way. Hesitancy about many transactions was clear throughout 2016. A lack of transparency about the future Brexit negotiations dampened dealmakers’ confidence.

Severin Brizay, head of EMEA M&A at UBS, agrees: “We have seen a sharp slowdown in deal volumes in the UK driven by market uncertainty due to the lack of visibility on how Brexit is going to play out.”

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