Grant Thornton advised on 136 deals in 2014 and out-performed the market – recording a 3.8% increase on deals in 2013. This compares to the 2% uptick in total volume of industry deals last year.
The ranking, from Experian Corpfin, measured the number of deals advised on by volume, not value and was based only on publically disclosed deals.
Fellow mid-tier accountancy group BDO remained in second place this year, advising on just one deal less than Grant Thornton, while EY climbed one position to fourth, advising on 108 deals in total.
KPMG saw a significant drop in the table from third last year to only seventh in 2014 with 91 deals; similarly, Big Four rival PwC fell from fourth place to ninth.
Baker Tilly just made the top 10 by gaining one place on last year (86 deals), while Deloitte jumped from fourteenth to twelfth.
EY was the only accountancy group to make the top 20 by value (number seven), advising on deals worth over £31bn.
Ali Sharifi, partner and head of corporate finance advisory at Grant Thornton UK, said, “Over the past year, we've seen deal activity across a diverse spectrum of businesses in a variety of sectors, which suggests the wider economic recovery is normalising and businesses are more confident of their prospects for the year ahead. Moreover, the uptick in UK firms' M&A activity abroad implies they're increasing their competitiveness in the global economy and undoubtedly helps strengthen the perception of British businesses internationally."
According to the report, 5,557 mergers and acquisitions and equity capital market transactions were announced in the UK during 2014. This represented an increase of 2% from the 5,455 deals recorded for 2013. The increased volume pushed the overall value of deals in 2014 to £289bn, an increase of 5.6% on the £273.7bn worth of deals recorded in 2013.
Although the number of small deals (worth between £500,000 and £10m) recorded a small (3.3%) decline, there was a 17.1% increase in the number of mid-market deals (worth £10m to £100m) and a 20.5% upturn in the number of large deals (£100m to £1bn). Meanwhile, the number of mega-deals (worth more than £1bn) announced in 2014 soared to 48, almost double the 25 transactions recorded in 2013.
Grant Thornton recently announced that Sacha Romanovitch is set to take over as CEO, becoming the first woman to lead a major UK firm.