Rate of overseas takeovers of British firms peaks in 2010’s fourth quarter

ONLY one third of all UK listed companies taken over during the fourth quarter of 2010 were bought by British firms, according to new data released by the City law firm Wedlake Bell LLP.

Overseas bids for UK companies peaked in the final quarter of 2010, with 65 per cent of completed bids coming from foreign firms. This is the highest ever rate for overseas takeovers with 54 per cent of the total 113 bids in 2010 coming from overseas buyers, compared with just 40 per cent in 2009 and 44 per cent in 2008.

The US remains the top overseas bidder for UK listed companies, responsible for 22 per cent of all takeovers registered in 2010. However the research by Wedlake Bell also reveals increasing activity in the UK from emerging economies, acquiring 17 UK listed companies- 15 per cent of all deals- during 2010 and up by 10 per cent in 2008.

Canadian companies are also increasingly active in the UK, responsible for eight per cent all of listed company takeovers during 2010 and up by three per cent from the previous year. In direct contrast, Western European firms made only seven per cent of acquisitions in the UK market throughout 2010.

Wedlake Bell’s latest data also reports an increasing interest from foreign buyers in UK- based technology companies.