Dealing in a digital world

One of the most significant challenges for business today is how and where to allocate capital to meet their digital ambitions. Companies are faced with a number of questions, the most pressing of which is whether to buy or build or seek another path – technological and behavioural change has changed the deal space too, including an increasing interest from private equity.

Our recent survey of 600 company executives shows that M&A remains the most popular route for companies, but that has its own challenges. History is littered with examples of a failed scatter gun approach and it’s clear that companies need to take a holistic view to deals. A smart digital future requires smart capital allocation.

Continue reading

Eight things we learnt this summer

Ostensibly it looks like we’ve returned to our desks picking up pretty much where we left off. Or have we? It was by no means as dramatic a summer as those of Eurozone crises and taper-tantrums past or even last year’s oil & China worries.  But arguably the summer has been a pivotal period that has established the terms of debate for the autumn and beyond.  This week we go back to school talking about eight of the biggest summer themes.

Continue reading

Through the looking glass: from low yields to old solutions

Sometimes you need time away to really see how much has changed. What’s really grabbing my attention now is the low growth, low inflation, low interest rate world in which we find ourselves. It’s partly a hangover from the global financial crisis; but it’s also a product of secular forces – i.e. it’s not going away any time soon – and the resulting low-yield environment is throwing up significant challenges.

Continue reading

Five summer themes

When was the last quiet summer? Perhaps it was the same year as the last hot one? The pace of events might slacken in August –but let’s not bet on it. Still, it feels like a good time to take stock.  So much is up in the air, but we’re starting to get a better idea not only of BREXIT’s initial impact but also the official reaction and implications for M&A.

In this blog, I want to pull all this together, pulling out five broad themes that are shaping the capital agenda.  A BREXIT thread runs through this tapestry, but it’s not the only strand – and it’s not where we start.

Continue reading

Why are UK profit warnings still so high?

UK profit warnings have hit their highest second quarter level since the financial crisis. Our analysis shows more companies warning – and more companies warning more than once. Why is this happening? More to the point, how can companies avoid profit warnings when the future is so becoming more unpredictable?

Continue reading

28 days later…

We’re taking stock four weeks on from the result of the EU Referendum. A great deal of water has passed under some political bridges; but in terms of BREXIT practicalities we’re not much the wiser and won’t be for some time. The eye of the storm is focused on those most exposed to the greatest uncertainties and sterling transactions. As you move out to the edges, it’s looking more like “business as usual”, with the falling pound even creating sunnier skies for exporters.  But are the latest surveys signalling more trouble to come?

Continue reading

And the world keeps turning…

It’s hard to take your eyes off what’s going on in the markets. We’re not ignoring these stresses and strains and this week’s blog covers the primary themes in four charts.  But, I also want to think more practically. Given that uncertainty looks set to be an overused word for many, many months yet, there’s a danger that we worry about everything and do nothing.  So, what can companies sensibly do now?

Continue reading