As SoftBank swoops for Arm Holdings - is the weak sterling making British firms more attractive to foreign buyers?

 
Caitlin Morrison
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The pound has weakened since the UK voted to leave the EU (Source: Getty)

The deal between Japan's SoftBank and London-listed Arm Holdings announced this morning could be just the first of many foreign transactions kicked off by the recent referendum.

SoftBank's £24.3bn swoop for Arm, which is said to be the biggest ever technology acquisition in Europe, was probably helped by the fact that sterling is significantly weaker in the wake of the Brexit vote, analysts said today.

"An increase in inbound M&A was one of the obvious consequences of Brexit and weakened sterling but few expected it to manifest itself so quickly or at so large a scale," said Dan Ridsdale, analyst at Edison Investment Research.

Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said: "We can see in this deal the effect of Brexit and the collapse in the pound as British companies become ripe takeover targets. The pound is down around 10 per cent since the referendum and this makes British firms a lot more attractive."

Wilson pointed to Steinhoff's offer for discount retailer Poundland as further proof that it's possible a "torrent of deals" could be on the way.

"Fears that Brexit would kill off deals in the UK seems to have been overblown – Britain is very much open for business and the weak pound is key," he said. "A lot more British firms could become foreign-owned quite soon."

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