Foreign firms rush to buy up UK businesses

Tim Wallace
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THE ECONOMIC recovery is making the UK an increasingly attractive investment destination for overseas firms, analysts said yesterday, as official data showed a sharp rise in foreign firms buying UK businesses.

In the third quarter 46 UK firms were acquired by overseas buyers, a rise of 39 per cent on the previous three-month period.

The figure is also up 18 per cent on the third quarter of 2012.

“The increase suggests that foreign acquirers view the UK as a safe haven for investments and a footprint into Europe, without exposing themselves to the risks and volatility of investing in the Eurozone,” said EY analyst Mark Gregory.

But he warned the government against adding to instability in the investment landscape.

“Taking the current energy debate as a case in point, the UK needs to tread carefully to avoid too much political intervention into business as this can create uncertainty and cloud investors’ long term view.”

Acquisition of UK firms by other domestic businesses held steady with 60 transactions in the third quarter of 2013, from 62 in the same period of 2012.