Foreign Investors Spent $60B Buying UK Tech Firms Since Brexit Vote

Foreign firms buying UK companies

Since the Brexit vote three years ago, foreign buyers have announced $60 billion in deals for U.K. tech companies.

Data from Bloomberg shows that the number of deals have remained at a higher level than any of the measured years before the vote, peaking at more than 200 last year.

And the acquisitions aren't slowing down. Earlier this week, U.S. private equity firm Thoma Bravo announced that it was buying British cybersecurity software company Sophos for $3.8 billion, while U.K. tech firms ARM Group and Imagination Technologies were also recently purchased by foreign investors.

“Another day, another takeover of a U.K. company by a foreign business,” AJ Bell’s investment director Russ Mould told The Guardian. “Sterling weakness has made pound-denominated assets look cheap and so we’ve seen many overseas firms pounce on U.K. assets in the past few years.”

The deals aren't surprising since U.K. tech firms have proven to make plenty of money outside of their home markets. Sophos, for example, makes less than 12 percent of its annual revenue from the U.K., with most of its earnings coming from the U.S. and Germany. And in the first nine months of this year, the country's tech companies made more than 7.4 billion pounds ($9.4 billion) — compared to 7.8 billion pounds in all of 2018.

The clock is ticking for firms looking to make last-minute deals before Brexit officially goes into full effect. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid recently said the country will split from the European Union effective Oct. 31. “Hopefully we leave with a deal,” he said in late September. “If we cannot strike a deal, I think it is important to leave in any case and leave with no deal. It is not perfect but it is appropriate that we leave on the 31st.”

As a result, international financial institutions in the U.K. have been getting ready for a no-deal Brexit.



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