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UK firms’ foreign takeovers hit record low in first quarter

City A.M. Reporter
THE number of foreign firms bought by British companies and the amount spent on them fell to their lowest level in more than 20 years in the first three months of 2010, official data showed yesterday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said spending by UK firms on foreign acquisitions fell to £192m in the three months to March, the lowest since records began in 1987.

There were only 10 acquisitions abroad by UK firms with values of £1m or more, also the lowest since records began.

Foreign takeovers of British companies also fell, to £14.3bn from £15.1bn in the previous quarter, but came in higher than in preceding quarters.

The largest deal in this period was the acquisition of Cadbury by US rival Kraft Foods.
A fall in the value of the pound over the past two years has made British companies a more attractive proposition for overseas firms.

Britain’s new coalition government is looking to see whether rules governing takeovers of UK companies need tightening and has launched a wide-ranging review of the independent Takeover Panel headed by the new business secretary Vince Cable.