Takeovers of U.K. companies by overseas buyers surged to a record in 2006 as acquirers from India and China targeted British companies as a way to expand into Europe, Grant Thornton said.
Overseas buyers spent a record 75.5 billion pounds ($150 billion) buying 242 companies in the U.K. last year, according to the study by the London-based accounting firm that used data from the Office for National Statistics. That's a 50 percent increase on the 50.3 billion pounds of deals recorded in 2005.
Buyers from India and China are bidding for U.K. companies as the dollar's 11 percent drop against the pound over the past 12 months hurt U.S. companies' buying power. India's Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA) last month agreed to buy the U.K.'s Corus Group Plc for 6.2 billion pounds in the largest acquisition by an Indian company.
``Foreign buyers are currently on a rampant acquisition spree,'' David Brooks, Grant Thornton's head of mergers and acquisitions said. ``Companies are attracted to the U.K. by its favorable regulatory regime, its competitiveness in the global market and its veritable lack of protectionist policies.''
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