The government must resist intervening in the growing number of US takeover attempts of UK companies, according to the chief executive of FTSE 100 manufacturing firm Melrose Industries.
Simon Peckham said that government pushback to the growing number of private equity takeovers could lead to American retaliation in the future.
Peckham told the Sunday Times that UK firms should be encouraged to buy up overseas firms instead of worrying about local US takeovers.
This year has so far seen record amounts of overseas private equity takeovers of British companies, with more high-profile moves set to follow.
The activity has stoked concerns around the future of UK jobs and national security amid fears that foreign raiders will be open to asset stripping purchased companies.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has ordered probes into whether defence firm Ultra Electronics should be sold to the US, while the proposed sale of engineer Meggitt is also being closely watched.
Meggitt makes almost half of its revenues from defence, with the rest coming from civil aviation and energy.
However, Peckham said the government should not intervene in takeover bids and should instead signal that the UK is an open economy.
“The UK should encourage people like us to go out there and buy American companies, rather than worry about them coming over here and buying ours,” he said.
“America doesn’t mind us going to buy their companies, but if we start shutting down the UK to their bids, that might change.”