The biggest acquisitions of British brands made by the Japanese

Nina Edy
Follow Nina
Japan's Nikkei Buys Financial Times For $1.3 Billion
Japan's Nikkei bought the FT last year (Source: Getty)

Foreign firms have long been interested in breaking into the British market - and with sterling weak at the moment, the time is ripe for companies eager to make deals.

With the confirmation of Japan’s SoftBank making a £24.3bn play for British tech firm Arm Holdings, we've decided to give you a brief breakdown of the biggest British buys made by the Japanese so far.


In July last year, Nikkei, Japan's largest media company, announced it was buying the FT Group from Pearson for £844m, aiming to increase its international presence. The sale includes the famous pink paper and website, a web design business FT Labs, FT Chinese and Financial Publishing which includes publications such as The Banker and Investors Chronicle.

South Staffordshire Group

Earlier this year Global investment firm KKR announced that Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation had acquired a 25 per cent stake in South Staffordshire Group (the parent company of water firms South Staffs Water and Cambridge Water), though the value of the deal was not disclosed. A chairman said the partnership would “support South Staffordshire Plc and its management in maintaining its reputation as a first class operator.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brands

Japanese brewer Asahi made an offer of £2bn to Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brands for European premium brands Peroni and Grolsch. The deal was also inclusive of UK craft brewery Meantime, which was bought by SABMiller just last year. AB InBev said “that the deal with Japan’s Asahi was conditional upon the completion of its roughly $108bn (£82bn) deal for SABMiller”.

Smaller deals made by Japanese companies include:

Kevin Morris, a partner at PwC, previously told City A.M. that big Japanese firms “are being encouraged to buy outside of Japan, because there’s basically nothing left to buy in Japan".

Related articles