The UK is a highly attractive place to do business as evidenced by the large levels of inward investment into the country seen over the last few years. For overseas companies wishing to set up operations and trade there are a number of highly useful guides to doing business in the UK produced by the accounting and law firm members of the TAG Alliances (www.tiagnet.com and www.taglaw.com).
However, one of the most common methods for international companies to seek a presence in the UK is through acquisition. Having advised and supported overseas businesses to acquire UK companies we have observed there are many subtle, and not so subtle, variations in how different countries conduct M&A activity. This includes not just the obvious legal differences, but also variances in style, custom, market practice, the role of advisers, and the process undertaken.
This guide does not cover the strategic and commercial aspects of an effective acquisition strategy that would be common across the globe, such as defining your acquisition criteria, target analysis, valuations, negotiations, and post-acquisition integration. The document is designed to provide non-UK acquirers with an overview of the legal and regulatory regime governing M&A activity in the UK together with an understanding of the processes and transaction issues that are most commonly encountered in this country. It is no substitute for good quality professional advice, but should help buyers to plan their M&A strategy for maximum effectiveness.