Foreign takeovers of British companies are continuing at a rapid pace. Pearson has agreed a deal to merge its Penguin Books with rival Random House. Random House is owned by German firm Bertelsmann, which will own 53 per cent of the merged company.
In the foods sector Premier Foods is selling its Branston range of pickles and sauces to Japan’s Mizkan including a factory in Bury St Edmunds. In June it sold its vinegars business to the same firm. In May China's Bright Food bought a 60 per cent controlling stake in Northants-based family firm Weetabix which also owns Alpen & Ready Brek. The company is valued at £1.2 billion.
Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) has 10 per cent stake of Heathrow Airport Holdings, the Spanish firm that owns Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports. CIC, set up to invest some of China’s foreign exchange reserves, bought 8.9 per cent of Thames Water in January. Meanwhile, Qatar Holdings’ bid for 20 per cent of Heathrow Airport Holdings is awaiting EU approval. ■