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UK plc 'shuns overseas M&A'

British businesses have been slow to spend their way out of the recession, leaving the UK lagging behind other economies, according to a report by KPMG.

The accountancy firm said British companies are missing opportunities to buy complementary or rival businesses overseas, an important driver of growth following a downturn. British acquisitions of foreign companies are running at just 60 per cent of their peak in the mergers and acquisitions boom of 2007, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

John Kelly, KPMG's head of transaction services at KPMG, said: "In a low growth environment, UK companies need to tap into higher growth markets overseas, which for many – including financial services and retail – is the only effective means of recovering from the credit crisis."

Mr Kelly said with an estimated 1.5 per cent growth rate over the next four years, the UK "will not be enough" for many UK companies to return to growth.