Business leaders' forum

Brexit threatens international acquisitions in UK

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Crashing out of the EU could risk quashing international interest in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the UK, an expert in corporate finance has warned.

In this exclusive interview – filmed at this year’s Food Manufacture Business Leaders’ Forum, sponsored by law firm DWF LLP​ – Oghma Partners director Carolyn Viney said overseas interest in British businesses remained strong in 2018.

“We feel that’s for one of a few reasons: either companies that already have assets here are looking to consolidate and grow their market position, or companies are looking to benefit from the current exchange rates and buy assets slightly more cheaply than they would be normally,” ​Viney explained.

However, the looming threat of Brexit and the immediate fallout of a crash out of the EU threatened to turn away overseas business looking at M&A activity in the UK.

‘Suffering immediately’

“There have been many reports recently around trade suffering immediately post a no-deal Brexit if we are allowed to crash out,”​ Viney added. “I think there have been reports of a 75% fall-off in trade in the first six months and then longer-term impact on sales for companies.

“Clearly if companies are suffering due to tariffs or continued exchange rate issues their profits are down that will likely have a negative impact on M&A.”

Viney went on to mention the impact that a Labour government could have on M&As and the consequences it would have on entrepreneurs looking to sell.

Meanwhile, look at for more coverage from this year’s Business Leaders’ Forum, including articles in next month’s Food Manufacture magazine and more exclusive video interviews with captains of industry on this site.

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