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Britain for Sale: British Companies in Foreign Hands - The Hidden Threat to Our Economy Paperback – 4 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business (4 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847940765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847940766
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A very readable book ... Years of experience on Fleet Street have served [Brummer] well - he has a serious yet very approachable style in giving us his knowledge" (Bookbrunch)

"A fascinating new book" (Money Week)

"An important and enlightening read" (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

The Daily Mail's City Editor investigates foreign takeovers of British businesses - and what this means for the country's economy

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 11 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
This excellent book “looks at the conditions which allowed Britain to become the favourite destination for overseas predators, the indifference of our policymakers, their neglect of our economic security and the impact on efforts to rebalance commerce in favour of making things after the financial panic of 2007-2009.” Brummer was the City Editor at the Guardian and is now City Editor at the Daily Mail.

He notes, “Thatcher led a revolution that would open up the markets to all comers. Deregulation would see the unblocking of Britain’s capital markets to overseas investment and the start of a takeover bonanza …”

Mergers generally fail to bring growth or jobs. A 1997 study by the Centre for International Business Studies at South Bank University found, “The bulk of the empirical evidence on the profitability of mergers and on the performance of the merging partners shows that mergers are usually unprofitable and the only group who stand to profit from merger are the shareholders of the acquired company.”

Brummer examines the 2010 takeover of the chocolate maker Cadbury by the US food giant Kraft. The nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland helped to fund Kraft’s bid. Even Lord Mandelson was moved to say that foreign ownership of British companies could damage the country.

The USA, Germany, France and Spain all have various forms of ‘economic patriotism’, to make foreign bids for domestic firms hard to achieve. But the Labour government’s 2002 Enterprise Act ended the government’s duty to intervene in defence of the national interest. From 1997 to 2007, foreign ownership of British firms rose from a third to a half, and ownership of vital services rose to 40 per cent.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By PCB on 2 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This excellent 250-page book should be read by our politicians and anyone interested in rebuilding Britain. Mrs Thatcher's conversion to neo-liberalism and the abolition of almost all controls on what money can do in this country let speculators buy up anything using debt and leverage. Over 50% of UK companies are now foreign owned and the list includes facilities such as banks, electricity, gas, water, ports, airports, transport, football clubs and real estate. Government has not realised that with foreign ownership pricing, tax, control of local employment conditions, research, and supply chains all move offshore. We can only get out of our debt crisis by manufacturing and selling abroad but our universities expand arts courses and 70% of postgraduate engineers in this country are from overseas. Foreign takeovers could be limited by stakeholder consultation and restricting short term speculative investment. Alex Brummer is the City Editor of the Daily Mail and writes smoothly, with wide inside knowledge and a few well-chosen statistics.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Duttoneer on 1 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very thought provoking, and I was surprised to learn how our government, whichever party is in power, seem to be more interested in short-termism. Well worth reading.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Levy on 18 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I've noticed something about books written by journalists. They tend to have a larger format than standard paperbacks, are generally printed in bigger typeface, and each page only runs to about 340 words, compared with about 420. `Britain for Sale' would therefore make a rather slender standard paperback of about 200 pages. A flashy slightly frothing red-top-type cover, a bit of playing around with line spacing, fonts and margins, and conveniently forgetting that the 15-page index could be compressed into half that space if it were typeset smaller - just right for this selective skim over Britain's manufacturing victimology of the past few decades.

And the point about journalists? Well, they tend to write in newspaper-length paragraphs, particularly if they write for the Daily Mail, as Alex Brummer is currently. The paragraphs would look very short indeed if printed in standard paperback format. All this is speculation, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed the phenomenon (there are wonderful exceptions, for example Larry Elliott of the Guardian, but his articles are always notable essays to begin with; writers who can think book-length can become good journalists, but the converse is rarely true).

Minutiae apart, (and as MadMax31 much more concisely expressed it in a recent review) Brummer arbitrarily and sentimentally centres his tale around the malevolent takeover of `iconic' Cadbury, manufacturer of all that sort-of chocolate, by Kraft, the manufacturer of sort-of cheese. A highly successful and brave British company with multiple brands and a great moral core, we are told, that was pitilessly pursued by a slightly less successful company with multiple brands and no ethics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jose M. Munoz on 22 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must read type of book, and good to have near your bed table. It really opens your eyes and helps you to become more aware of what is going on around you in our society. I may help you to become more active within our democracy as well!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Davis on 30 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting read, yet extremely annoying as to why previous governments of whatever party have let overseas companies buy our once previous leading organisations. It's a pity they cannot be taken to account for such betrayal.
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