Buy British? You’ll Be Lucky!

Ever wondered whether those iconic British brands we’ve grown up with since we were kids are still British owned? Well, read on…

Branston pickle – is now owned by a Japanese company.

Robertson’s – it was sold, along with other famous spreads like Hartley’s jam, Gale’s honey and Sun-Pat peanut butter to an ­American firm Hain Celestial.

Rolls-Royce – the most British of cars, Rolls-Royce was bought by Germany’s Volkswagen Group in 1998.

miniThe Mini – Germany’s BMW owns one of Britain’s other most famous car brands.

Weetabix – Chinese company Bright Foods bought the majority stake in the company, which also makes Alpen and Ready Brek.

Cadbury – US food giant Kraft owns your favourite chocolate bars and although they promised to safeguard jobs they transferred production to Poland.

Newcastle Brown Ale – Scottish & Newcastle, makers of the famous ale, was bought by Dutch brewer Heineken and Denmark’s Carlsberg in 2008.

Jaguar Land Rover – Car giant Ford sold the luxury arm of the firm – which makes the Range Rover Evoque to Indian company Tata, India’s biggest vehicle maker.

Camelot – The National Lottery operator was sold to a ­Canadian pension fund.

Boots – The chemist chain and beauty ­business was bought by private equity firm KKR and billionaire Italian Stefano Pessina. After 161 years being based in Nottingham, the new owners moved the firm’s HQ to Swiss tax haven of Zug. They sold a 45% stake to US retailer Walgreen.

Raleigh – iconic British cycle manufacturer, famous for the Chopper and Grifter, is now owned by Dutch rival Accell. Raleigh was once the biggest cycle maker in the world, employing 10,000 and producing two million bicycles a year.

Asda – The supermarket, now Britain’s second biggest grocery chain, was bought by American retail giant ­Wal-Mart in 1999.

It gets worse!

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 41% of UK companies are foreign owned if you look at their shares.

That’s up from just under 31% in 1998 and a mere 7% in 1963.

Between April and June this year, overseas firms spent £2.6billion buying no less than 42 UK companies.

Last year foreign companies bought £33billion worth of UK businesses.

And while UK firms can go the other way, and buy businesses abroad, in reality many other countries have barriers that make it much harder for them to do so.

In Germany and France, they have a positive attitude towards ­Government supporting certain industries, unlike the UK, where our governments would sell their grannies for a few bob!


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