Fast growing British tech companies have become attractive targets for acquisition by foreign concerns.
A wave of foreign buyers is coming after British technology companies, according to Bloomberg News. The trend threatens to deprive the UK market of the little exposure it still has to high-growth assets, the article reads.
OpenText’s takeover offer for Micro Focus follows NortonLifeLock’s purchase of cybersecurity firm Avast, Schneider Electric’s interest in acquiring software developer Aveva and US investor Thoma Bravo’s overtures toward Darktrace. Furthermore, GTCR said it’s considering a bid for identity verification company GB Group on Tuesday.
Recent spate of purchases may be just the beginning
These deals may not be the last, Bloomberg notes. A protracted selloff in growth assets and a weaker pound make the UK fertile ground for bargain hunters, they explain. But the foreign shopping spree is completely at odds with the British government’s efforts to foster a strong domestic tech scene and attract more growth listings in London.
“The swoop on UK targets by overseas buyers will undoubtedly cause unease among politicians”, said Susannah Streeter, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “It’s fresh evidence that UK assets are considered to be cheap, weighed down by the impact of Brexit, the weakening pound, the energy crisis and the looming recession set to hit the economy.”
Still, the UK’s startup scene is among the liveliest in Europe. It’ll take a few years for the effects of the government’s tax incentives and easing of visa rules to come to fruition. But in some areas, like fintech and health tech, Britain is already ahead of other major financial centers like New York, according to Goodbody analyst George O’Connor.
“Once upon a time, UK tech companies wanted to list on Nasdaq seeing that venue as the tech mothership. This is no longer the case”, he said, noting that London is a “superb venue for earlier-stage growth companies with a generation of entrepreneurial fund managers unrivaled on the global stage”.