Although the general election means an uncertain political backdrop for dealmakers over the summer, the positive progress in activity levels seen so far this year is expected to continue.

Transactions among mid-market and large firms in particular have been more buoyant than in 2023 and with the prospect of interest cuts before the summer is out advisers do not expect any significant negative impact from a potential change of government at Westminster.

“Businesses have been living with significant political uncertainty in the UK and Scotland for quite a few years now and I haven’t seen any evidence of transactions being put on hold since the election was called,” reports David Beveridge of corporate law firm Macdonald Henderson.

“While there is the potential risk of changes to areas like capital gains tax and entrepreneurs’ tax relief, that uncertainty has been factored into deals for some time now.”

Significant funding rounds for life sciences companies have been a key theme of the landscape in Scotland so far this year, a positive reflection of the health of one of the nation’s most exciting sectors.

They included cancer research biotech Carcinotech, which secured £4.2 million in a deal led by St Andrews-based Eos Advisory; University of Dundee spinout Glen Clova Scientific, which closed a £4 million seed round led by Norcliffe Capital; and Calcivis, which attracted £5 million to roll out its early tooth decay detection technology in a round led by the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB).

One of the biggest funding deals in the sector for some time was also seen with Glasgow-based Enterobiotix closing a £27 million round backed by US-based life science investors Thairm Bio and Kineticos Life Sciences, along with support from SNIB.

According to Alexander Lamley, partner at MBM Commercial, which is involved with many of the university spin-outs, the levels of activity currently being seen in Scotland reflects the development of the ecosystem and investor community over many years which is now increasingly paying dividends.

“The more spin-outs that are done, the more success stories there are, more investment is drawn into the ecosystem, and more lessons are learned that others can benefit from,” he points out.

Although some of the latest investment rounds for Scottish scale-ups have attracted back- ing from big-name US investors, Lamley says the impact of Covid on how business is carried out is also seeing angel backers join Scotland’s strong community of early-stage investors.

“With mass adoption of Zoom and Teams the market suddenly feels so much more open and you can have those face-to-face calls without always having to fly to California,” he says.

“We often find the Scottish companies we deal with say they’re getting some money from a number of main investors – and there’s also a guy in San Francisco also sticking $50,000 in.”

The influence of US investors is also reflected in the increased ambition Lamley says is being seen in the size of funding rounds.

“Ten years ago a seed round was considered to be your first £150,000, and you were doing a Series A if you’re raising £750,000 or a million. Now, a seed round is often half a million or even a million pounds and £3-5 million might be a Series A, or it might even be called a pre-Series A because it’s a stepping stone into the US market. So the ambitions are definitely getting bigger.”

The technology sector also continues to see strong deal activ- ity. The latest transactions include Edinburgh’s Malted AI, which helps businesses develop custom AI solutions, raising £6 million in a round led by Hoxton Ventures and joined by Creator Fund and angel investors.

Scottish rocket manufacturer Orbex also raised £16.7 million
as it gears up for the launch of its satellite transportation vessel Prime. The latest funding round, which takes the total raised by the business to £102 million, involved backers including SNIB and venture capital firms Octopus Ventures and BGF.

Alison Gilson, head of Shoosmiths’ office in Edinburgh, whose team has been involved in the recent sale of AI-focused Engine B and machine-learning firm Artificial Lift Performance, sees a strong pipeline of activity ahead.

“We are continuing to see a surge in transactions, and US corporates are taking a keen interest in innovative UK tech businesses,” she says, while adding that deals are taking longer to complete with increased scrutiny on diligence issues.

“Looking ahead to the next six months, I expect the market will pick up further as private equity funds are deployed, inevitably driving more deal-making activity in Scotland.”


A flurry of buyouts in recent weeks which has seen employees take ownership of businesses has ensured a key target for the Scottish economy remains on track.

Ministers want to see the number of employee-owned businesses (EOBs) – which studies have shown to be more profitable and more productive – reach 500 by 2030.

Latest figures show there are now 286 EOBs operating in Scot- land, up from 195 in 2022.

The most recent deals include motor dealer Helensburgh Toyota being sold to a trust formed by its 34 employees, becoming what is thought to be the first Scottish car dealership to move to employee ownership, in a deal supported by Ownership Associates and Bellwether Green. Aberdeen-based leak sealing business Kinetics Controls and Innovation and the Erskine-head- quartered EDC group of companies also made the switch.

Darah Zahran, who leads the Co-operative Development Scotland team at Scottish Enterprise, says employee ownership is an attractive succession option when an owner is retiring or moving on.

“It gives remaining employees a meaningful stake in their organisation, a genuine say in how it’s run, ensures consistency for customers and anchors the business in its community for the long term. EOBs are also proven to be more resilient in times of economic crisis, more profitable and more productive.”

David Beveridge of Macdonald Henderson, which recently advised Glasgow business software firm Cofficient on an employee buyout, says the increasing numbers of deals being done in Scotland is partly down to wider awareness and understanding in the advisor community.

“However it is not necessarily the right option for every busi- ness and does need an engaged employee team to support the process,” he cautions.


Hyble, a supplier of marketing technology to the global drinks and hospitality sector, raised £2.8 million to expand further into the United States. The Edinburgh- headquartered business secured the follow-on investment from BGF. Hyble, which employs al- most 100 people, recently signed a multi-year contract with the leading US distributor Southern Glazer’s Wines and Spirits.

ROVOP, which supplies remote operated vehicles to the energy sector, was acquired by US group Chouest. Aberdeen-based ROVOP, which works across oil and gas and renewables, was previously backed by specialist energy private equity firm Bluewater.

The UK Infrastructure Bank invested £25 million in Invinity Energy Systems to support the commercial development of longer-duration energy storage from its base in Bathgate.

The financing was part of £56 million fundraising by the company which will help create more than 40 new jobs in Scotland. Advisors on the deal included Dentons.

Creative and digital agency Lewis acquired Tayburn in a six-figure cash and equity deal. They have been brought under a new group company, Limitless Innovation Group, but will continue to operate as individual brands. Clerwood Legal and William Duncan Accountants acted for Lewis and Macdonald Henderson for Tayburn.

Nasdaq-listed ChampionX acquired Edinburgh-based Artificial Lift Performance which specialises in advanced analytics for enhancing oil and gas production performance. The business was founded by Sandy Williams, who has spent more than 30 years in the oil industry across the world.