back to article Overseas investors eat the UK tech sector for Brexit: More cash flung about in 7 months than the whole of last year

Foreign investors poured $6.7bn (£5.5bn) into the UK tech sector in the first seven months of the year, more than the whole of 2018. US and Asian firms invested most in the period (55 per cent), according to research compiled for the government's Digital Economy Council by industry body Tech Nation and data company Dealroom. …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    In 2016, SoftBank's £24.3bn purchase of UK chip-maker Arm was said to be due to sterling being significantly weaker in the wake of the Brexit vote.

    Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, commented: "These fantastic figures show the confidence overseas investors have in UK tech with investment flows from the US and Asia at an all-time high.

    It might be a question of semantics, but I thought there was a difference between "investing in" and "buying up and taking complete control of"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      UK closing down sale

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Didn't you get the message? We're taking back control.

      1. Secta_Protecta

        Mak UK Great Again

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

      "It might be a question of semantics, but I thought there was a difference between "investing in" and "buying up and taking complete control of""

      Not really. They buy a company for example. Here in the UK, the people in the UK, the wages in the UK, the business tax in the UK. It is here even if the owner is not.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        > the people in the UK, the wages in the UK, the business tax in the UK. It is here even if the owner is not.

        The jobs move abroad, the wages move abroad, the profits are all made in their Cayman island subsidiary Eventually only the branding is in the UK

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

          @Yet Another Anonymous coward

          "The jobs move abroad, the wages move abroad, the profits are all made in their Cayman island subsidiary Eventually only the branding is in the UK"

          Do they? I guess it depends on the type of work for if it can be moved like that. Otherwise they are buying equipment, intellectual property and experience which is in the UK unless they can afford to move it (not always possible with experienced people).

      2. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        @ codejunky:

        They buy a company for example. Here in the UK, the people in the UK, the wages in the UK, the business tax in the UK. It is here even if the owner is not.

        Oh you mean like Amazon, Google, Facebook et al?

        Yeah, right...

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

          @Commswonk

          "Oh you mean like Amazon, Google, Facebook et al?"

          Those are British? I did not know. And yes they pay tax here

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

            They pay peppercorn tax thanks to lots of creative accounting, as you know perfectly well.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

              @Tom Paine

              "They pay peppercorn tax thanks to lots of creative accounting, as you know perfectly well."

              They follow the tax rules yes. But that is also something the EU enforces as part of the single market. Yet they pay tax in this country plus job creation plus the tax from hiring workers plus the many tax's of the UK.

              The fun with people wanting higher tax on companies is they also want the jobs and dont want to lose the tax money already paid. And they would be upset to get a reduction of service. So where does all this money come from?

      3. batfink Bronze badge

        Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        A few years ago Kraft bought Cadbury's in the UK, having given assurances to the government that there would be no factory closures and production would continue in the UK as before. Within a month after the acquisition, Kraft announced that the Somerdale factory would be closed and production moved to Poland.

        So pardon me if I'm sceptical.

        (@Hans - I know you're probably in the UK - just giving the whole Cadbury story for the benefit of those who are not)

      4. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Eh? Yes, the company and all their employees, capital, customers, brand reputation etc may well be in the UK, but if the shares are all owned by overseas organisations, that's where the dividends go, and likely that's where the Board-level management is carried out.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

          @Tom Paine

          "but if the shares are all owned by overseas organisations, that's where the dividends go, and likely that's where the Board-level management is carried out."

          Does that matter? I am sure we are happy for people here to own overseas organisations, collect dividends and manage.

    4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Headmaster

      The original meaning of "investment" was "to lay siege." Make of that what you will.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In 2016, SoftBank's £24.3bn purchase of UK chip-maker Arm"

    That would have happened anyway and most of Britain has been sold off long before Brexit, Steel, Motor Industry, Power and so forth.

    Everything is for sale in the UK so long as those in the City get their cut.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      And with the fall in the pound, it's firesale prices :-(

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Everything is for sale

      If BJ is still blustering at No10 after Brexit, expect the NHS and anything else without a nail holding it down to go under the hammer.

      Where have I seen the initials BJ used before?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Everything is for sale

        Billy-Joe McKay and his best friend Bear.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Might come as a shock to you, but everything everywhere is for sale. What do you think a stock exchange is?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Greenland is not for sale!!!

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        A Stock Exchange is where you buy stocks in publicly quoted companies, you can't buy shares in privately owned companies there or indeed shares in things like the NHS. So no everything is not necessarily for sale.

  3. nsld

    Everything must go

    Would be interesting to see which MPs have interests in the vehicles acquiring the UK tech sector at a massive discount?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't you say . .

    if people are investing similar amounts, in dollar, terms each year then a good chunk of the rise is just due to the pound falling and the conversion rate.

    Then there's the attraction of buying bargains before they're gone. Although you would think they could have done even better by waiting a few months.

    How long do you think Boris will stay as PM atfer a no-deal Brexit. How hard or many 'bumps in the road' will it take the Brexit faithful to turn on their 'leaders'?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't you say . .

      How long do you think Boris will stay as PM atfer a no-deal Brexit. How hard or many 'bumps in the road' will it take the Brexit faithful to turn on their 'leaders'?

      Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Bojo jumped before anyone had the chance to turn on him. Push a no-deal Brexit through and as soon as it's a done deal, declare "my work here is done" and then f*** off leaving someone else to inherit the mess.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Wouldn't you say . .

        When he goes it will mean he has got the best deal (for him).

        Slightly off topic: When my Russian wife saw a pic of Boris she asked 'who is that?'.

        I said ' it's our new Prime Minister' .

        Having looked at his hair she said ' Does he travel in a car with his head out of the window and his tongue hanging out like our neighbour's dog?

        Now every time I see him I can't het that picture out if my head.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Wouldn't you say . .

        "Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Bojo jumped before anyone had the chance to turn on him. Push a no-deal Brexit through and as soon as it's a done deal, declare "my work here is done" and then f*** off leaving someone else to inherit the mess."

        Also kown as 'Doing a Cameron' - second definition, not the porky one...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Wouldn't you say . .

          I think BoJo and his mates actually expected Cameron to stay on and implement what they wanted but hadn't a clue how to make work. Frankly I don't blame him for telling them to sort it out themselves and clearing off. After all, he didn't want to leave.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Wouldn't you say . .

            Cameron acted for the leavers. First that non-deal with "concessions" that were less than those provided by the EU's normal rules - e.g. four years for EU migrants to qualify for UK benefits, when EU standard rules make that five years unless a host country chooses to be more generous. Then the non-campaign with heavily gerrymandered electorate - e.g. dropping the manifesto promise to enfranchise Brits abroad.

            Of course Boris wanted and expected Cameron to stay on and take the blame. That was a deft manoeuvre to avoid becoming leader in 2016 without being seen to chicken out!

      3. Voidstorm
        Devil

        Re: Wouldn't you say . .

        ...someone's been reading the nastyparty playbook :]

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wouldn't you say . .

        not unless he's got a consultancy or directorship to move to, maybe in a US Heathcare provider

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Wouldn't you say . .

      Well, he already has property in France, and wasn't there something about him having French ancestry and getting a French passport not so long ago. Purely for convenience you understand.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Wouldn't you say . .

      I'M GLAD YOU ASKED ME THAT, BRIAN!

      Everything I (think I) know about social psychology strongly suggests that in the event of a really chaotic no-deal Brexit-- what David Davis called "a Mad Max Brexit" -- will lead a significant fraction, probably a majority of committed Leave supporters to doubling down on their ingroup/outgroup identification. That is,society will become MORE polarised. They will circle the wagons and shake their fists impotently at the EU (for stubbornly continuing to exist and to act in their own best interest), the Enemy Within (Remain supporting MPs, news media that are insuffficiently gung-ho) and -- I'm afraid -- ultimate, for some fraction, "The Other", meaning anyone with a funny accent or wearing funny clothes, skin colour, etc.

      I hope I'm wrong.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    In reality...

    UK-based companies invested around $541 billion in the USA in 2017. Not hearing anyone saying the USA is up for sale, everything must go etc. etc.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: In reality...

      The USA seems to think Greenland is up for sale. At least its POTUS did a few days ago. He probably thinks something else is now. Maybe the next bright idea will be to make Huawei the 51st state.

      1. batfink Bronze badge

        Re: In reality...

        I have a plan: the UK can sign a trade deal with the UK, where the UK gets lots of trade concessions, and the US gets Greenland.

        Yes I know the UK doesn't own Greenland. But I have serious doubts Donald does.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Break it up and sell it

    There has long been a market for a companies assets once it's been broken up after bankruptcy.

    You have to admire the ambition of the brexiteers, this is the first time it's been attempted with an entire country.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Break it up and sell it

      No, it isn't. The previous one was the sale of the former Soviet Union during the Yeltsin years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Break it up and sell it

        Which is now run by the Russian mob, so I'm sure the UK will be just fine.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Break it up and sell it

          They already own great tracts of Mayfair and Knightsbridge, it's only to be expected that they expand their territory.

  8. steviebuk Silver badge

    Same old

    "However, although government has hailed the stats as a vote of confidence, the UK's historically weak pound is also thought to be a major factor."

    They claimed selling ARM was a good idea of confidence but they only bought it because the pound was weak at the time, well also so they now can control the ARM chip market. The Chinese that is. The government seem to love selling all our stuff off on the chip, granted they couldn't force the price of ARM but they could of sold the Post Office off at a profit instead of fucking selling it for peanuts. And now that is gonna go down the pan, with our large local that is always busy being sold, because they know they can get a packet for selling the old building its in. Moving the Post Office to the local WHSmith that is way too fucking small to cope with the traffic it will get!

  9. hostman

    Money finds its way back in to the economy

    This is unadulterated good news, yet people still find something to moan about. What do you think happens to the money that is paid for the shares? It finds its way back in to the economy as a whole, the founders of the businesses become millionaires, buy bigger houses, cars, invest elsewhere and in many cases of people I personally know who have benefited from an acquisition, they start up other companies using the money gained and employ more people. In many cases if you're an early employee you'll have some shares too!

    I'm speaking from experience as a shareholder of a tech company that has been acquired in the last few years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money finds its way back in to the economy

      Ooh, ooh, yes! Me, sir!

      Is the answer 'trickledown', sir?

      /sarcasm

      1. hostman

        Re: Money finds its way back in to the economy

        I didn't realise Cor Bin Ung, also known as the green eyed monster, frequented The Register.

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