Daily Mail

£66bn mergers send advisers into fee frenzy

- by Francesca Washtell

CitY advisers are preparing for a fees bonanza from a £66bn takeover frenzy.

the London Stock Exchange and Just Eat are the latest firms to embark on mega deals, following takeover bids for the defence group Cobham, Alton towers owner Merlin Entertainm­ents, Webuyanyca­r parent company BCA Marketplac­e and pub operator Ei.

investment bankers, brokers, lawyers and accountant­s will rake in fees worth millions of pounds as they steer the transactio­ns through regulatory and corporate hurdles.

London Stock Exchange Group and refinitiv are discussing a merger that would create a bourse and informatio­n services giant worth £42bn, while Just Eat and its Dutch rival takeaway could join forces to create a £9bn food delivery giant. On Friday, the LSE confirmed that it was looking to buy refinitiv from Blackstone and thomson reuters for almost £22bn.

in addition to the Footsie mega-deals, the board of midcap defence company Cobham backed a £ 4bn takeover approach by the US private equity firm Advent internatio­nal last week. the Government has been urged to intervene in the 165p-per- share buyout, which is also expected to start a bidding war.

Private equity-owned Stonegate Pub Company, which owns the Slug and Lettuce bar chain, has put forward a £3bn bid, including debt, to buy Ei, Britain’s biggest pub group.

A £5.9bn swoop has also been made for Merlin Entertainm­ents by Kirkbi, the family fund behind the Lego fortune, as well as a £1.9bn proposal from tDr Capital to buy BCA Marketplac­e.

Advisers are thought to have pocketed around £1.2bn from AB inBev’s £79bn so- called ‘megabrew’ deal to buy SABMiller in 2016. they can even cash in from failed attempts to merge, with advisers racking up £46m in fees from Sainsbury’s attempt to team up with Asda, which was blocked by the Competitio­n and Markets Authority this year.

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