BUSS4 M&A - the Benefits of Foreign Takeovers of UK Firms

Buried in this article about generating investment in Manchester are some gems of examples of why government might encourage foreign takeovers of British business. The article starts with an unlikely visit by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs to the Manchester City stadium.

Famous for coining the term BRICS to describe the major emerging economies, O’Neill is equally famous as the leader of the Red Knights, who failed in their bid to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family in 2010 - the Glazer’s are accused by United supporters of failing to put enough cash into the club since they took it over. Sheikh Mansour, of Abu Dhabi, has poured money into Manchester City since he bought it in 2008 and there are ambitious plans to regenerate the whole area around the stadium.

The point of the article is to examine how effective foreign investment is in supporting the Manchester economy. One example is a company called Holroyd Precision, which makes high-tech machine tools. Based in Rochdale and employing 220 people, it was transformed after being taken over by a large Chinese manufacturer, Chongqing Machinery and Electric Co. Initial concerns that the company would be closed down and production moved to China have been proved quite unnecessary; Holroyd has almost doubled its turnover since the takeover two years ago and is now planning to build a new factory. The company says it is still British, employing British people, and producing high-tech, high-quality British goods.

Jim O’Neill compares this to car manufacturing in Britain, where he says that the latest data shows that today there are more cars produced in Britain than 30 years ago - by manufacturers such as Mini and Jaguar Land Rover who have benefitted from foreign takeovers.

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