2018 Business Predictions: Stuart Hands, M&A advisor, Translink Corporate Finance

Stuart Hands M&A advisor - UK and International for Translink Corporate Finance

Here we continue our series, in which Business Link Magazine invites business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. We catch up with Stuart Hands, M&A advisor, UK and International, for Translink Corporate Finance and discover what he has to say about the year ahead.

As an M&A adviser with lots of cross-border activity, what happens to our sceptred isle affects not only my sanity but also the prosperity of our team.

We have a weak currency, good for some, and an indecisive government with a vulnerable negotiating position with the EU: good for no-one. I can’t see how any of this will change in 2018.

I foresee that Brexit negotiations will continue to flounder with our PM walking on eggshells, desperately clinging to power and resolutely proclaiming that she will “carry out the will of the people”, all with an uncertain pallor of “you believe me…don’t you…”

Sterling will, therefore, continue its low ebb, affecting the price of our flights and increasing the cost of our beer ‘n’ chips in the Med for another summer… so what?  I think this, along with rising prices in other areas, may well have the effect of swaying a lot of voters’ whispers into a discordant racket, especially when whipped up by the mainstream media, probably toppling the PM.  So, do I predict a general election fought with a second referendum on the agenda? Go on then; yes!

What is the effect on deal volumes?

I am convinced that the Buy-Out market will continue at a pace with more challenger funders entering the market.

Business owners will continue getting older, of that I am sure.

I think.

Business sales will always happen; I see no change here.  Buyers will increasingly look overseas, not necessarily in Europe, but further afield.  The behemoths of the Chinese and Indian markets will frequently be attractive to buyers and sellers alike, as those markets practice ‘western friendly’ approaches, and we learn to be more open to these cultures from a business perspective; I predict an increase in UK companies buying overseas outside of Europe.

Feeling festive, I placed a five-match accumulator bet on Saturday with the first game being my team, Leicester City predicted to thump the Palace; we know how that ended.  I have an uncanny knack for messing things up when I bet on them…. here’s hoping!

Happy New Year!