Buying Britain

Published in Raconteur’s M&A 2015 Outlook in The Times 

The UK is proving to be an increasingly popular target for foreign investors seeking a business opportunity, writes Sally Percy

UK property famously appeals to foreign buyers, but they like to snap up our businesses too. Research by law firm Allen & Overy found that in the third quarter of this year, the UK was the world’s second most popular destination for inbound investment after the United States.

The fact that UK businesses are an attractive target for overseas companies is hardly surprising, says Daniel Domberger, a partner at corporate finance advisory firm Livingstone Partners. “It’s a welcoming climate for business with well-established legal precedents for the mechanisms of M&A, which not all jurisdictions have. And it’s relatively easy to do what you want with the business once you’ve acquired it, in contrast to many European countries.”

In particular, the UK appeals to US investors because they see it as the beachhead into Europe, says Mike Driver, a partner at corporate finance boutique Convex Capital. “The language is the same and there’s a similar legal system,” he says. The UK’s return to economic growth and higher consumer spending are making the country attractive to US retailers, while our technology businesses complement those across the pond.

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