June 4, 2019 / 8:57 AM / 2 months ago

UK cross-border M&A activity slumps in early 2019

FILE PHOTO: The Bank of England and the Royal Exchange are seen in the City of London, Britain, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - The value of cross-border company takeovers in Britain fell sharply in the first three months of 2019 as the number of acquisitions by British and foreign companies fell, official figures showed on Tuesday.

Foreign companies bought British firms worth a total 6.3 billion poundsin the first three months of 2019, the lowest since late 2017 and down from 38.8 billion pounds in the last three months of 2018, the Office for National Statistics said.

British companies bought foreign firms worth 5.4 billion pounds over the same period, down from 10.5 billion pounds in late 2018.

Major transactions completed in the first quarter included Coca-Cola’s $5.1 billion purchase of British coffee chain Costa from hotelier Whitbread and drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline’s purchase of Tesaro of the United States, the ONS said.

Mergers and acquisitions flows are often volatile from quarter to quarter.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg

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