UK Fears as Acquisitions Plunge 73pc

Article excerpt

Byline: By Guy Anderson

Acquisitions completed by British businesses outside the United Kingdom plunged 73pc in the first six months of this year, according to new research.

UK companies invested pounds 10.9bn making foreign acquisitions in the first half of the year, compared with pounds 40.8bn over the same period last year.

Foreign investments in UK companies jumped 10pc over the six months to pounds 13.3bn from pounds 11.2bn last year, making Britain a "net importer" of acquisitions.

The "Predator Index" ( produced by Zephyr on behalf of Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing ( showed that half of all acquisitions in Britain were carried out by American companies.

Lisa Wright, commercial director for Zephyr, said: "Although M&A activity has dropped substantially across the world since the heights of 2000, it appears that the UK is suffering more than most.

"Cross-border acquisitions by UK companies have dropped every year since 2000, but the figure of pounds 10.9bn for the first six months of 2004 is certainly a new low.

"A short-term net acquisition `deficit' will not have a significant impact, but if the trend continues in the long term, the implications, both economically and politically, are more interesting. …