The value of foreign acquisitions of British companies fell back in the third quarter of this year, but that of British acquisitions abroad increased.
National Statistics reported yesterday that foreign companies spent £18.1 billion on British acquisitions in July/September, down from £18.4 billion in the second quarter and £24.1 billion in the first - more than at any time since the peak of the dotcom boom six years ago.
The German Linde's purchase of BOC, for a reported £8.2 billion was the biggest inward investment during the latest three months.
Meantime British companies remained on the acquisition trail both at home and abroad.
They spent more than £11 billion on domestic takeovers and mergers during the third quarter, nearly three times as much as in the previous three months.
Two deals accounted for more than half the latest total. Resolution's purchase of Abbey National's life operations was believed to cost £3.6 billion, while Boots' acquisition of Alliance Unichem was put at £3.4 billion.
The value of British acquisitions abroad also more than doubled to £6.7 billion. The biggest of these was Yell's purchase of Spain's Telefonica for a reported £2.1 billion, accounting for 32 per cent of the value of all 86 British acquisitions overseas during the quarter.