UK firms go on shopping spree to acquire more overseas assets

Michael Bow
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UK COMPANIES had a healthier appetite for buying and merging foreign companies in the first quarter of this year, spending $3.3bn (£1.96bn) more than they did last year on overseas deals.

Businesses headquartered in the UK spent a total of $35.4bn between New Year’s day and the end of March on outbound M&A, helping boost the total value of deals completed by UK firms by 15 per cent to $54.6bn, according to EY.

The figures underscore a growing trend for UK firms to spend more on overseas deals, with $86.6bn spent in the 12 months leading up to 31 March this year compared to $48.2bn in the prior year period.

“Although the economy is improving, UK businesses are looking for growth elsewhere with the data indicating that the US, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and India are the most popular destinations,” EY’s Jon Hughes said.

The small uptick in M&A activity is surprising given the record breaking amount of money raised in UK stock market floats since the start of the year. The popularity of floating a company instead of selling it means there are less companies on offer for acquisitions.

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