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Is the rush over?

We've completed six deals in the first quarter of this year. Lots of people have said to me that it'll quieten down now that the rush to beat the change in Capital Gains Tax rates is over. I'm not so sure; all bar one of the deals we have closed have been in the pipeline for some time, and in most cases since before the tax changes were announced.

Usually a disposal takes 3 to 9 months but it can take longer. Certainly the impending increase in tax focused the mind, and drove the timetable, but I reckon all bar one of these deals would have happened anyway. We don't do purely tax driven deals - so I don't think it'll be a significant factor.

More important might be the continued worries about credit. The standard line so far has been that for deals below £100M it will have no effect. At some point it must impact on trade buyers financing lines, and so the prices they will pay, or even their appetite to buy. But on the other hand there may be more opportunities for buyouts from groups seeking to sell non core activities to raise cash. Its an ill wind.