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One of the ways in which overseas investors can access UK markets is by acquiring a business that already operates in those markets. While there are hurdles to be cleared, the process is not unduly difficult and appropriately experienced professional advisers will be able to guide you through it.

There are relatively few restrictions as to who may acquire or operate a UK company, whether public or private. In general, legitimate foreign investors should be able to make acquisitions without legal impediment.

There are various legal limitations relating to the public interest and to the promotion of competition within industry sectors that may apply to specific acquisitions. These are not discussed further here, so you should ask your professional advisers to consider and advise on their applicability.

This section deals with the process for acquiring shares in a public company, for acquiring shares in a private company, and for acquiring the assets and liabilities of a business without acquiring the shares of the company that owns them.

In the UK, a listed company will in almost all cases be a public company; however, not all public companies (PLCs) are listed. The rules relating to the takeover of public companies apply whether the company is listed or not.