UK lags behind

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The Independent Online
CORPORATE Europhobia in the past three years has left UK plc seriously lagging continental rivals in the crossborder merger stakes, claims Close Brothers, the investment bank.

While continental firms have indulged in an orgy of cross-border activity, pushing total mergers up from pounds 156bn in 1996 to pounds 321bn in 1998, acquisitions by UK firms elsewhere in the EU fell to pounds 5.2bn in 1998 from pounds 6.1bn in 1996. Acquisitions by EU companies of British firms hit pounds 12.5bn last year.