Sixteen prime targets for foreign takeovers

With UK-listed firms 18% to 44% cheaper than their US and Japanese counterparts, it's no wonder they are prime targets for foreign buyers. But which companies could be next?

With the firms on the UK stockmarket 18% to 44% cheaper than their US and Japanese counterparts, and our reputation for being the easiest country in the world in which to make a takeover bid, says Shares, it's not surprising many of our firms have become "prime targets" for foreign predators (for more, click here: Why are European firms taking over Britain?).

But which are likely to be "squarely in the firing line"? Within banking, insurance and finance, says Shares, the London Stock Exchange (LSE, 766p) has been a perennial bid target. Other potential targets in the industry are Lloyds TSB (LLOY, 552p versus a "likely take-out price" of 647p), Alliance & Leicester (AL, £10.83/£12.13), Northern Rock (NRK, £10.92/£14.24), Aviva (AV, 752p/920p), and Prudential (PRU, 598p/742p).

Among utilities, Shares tips Centrica (CNA, 284p/331p), which would make sense for "a gas producer looking for a high-priced market". Consider too Scottish Power (SPW, 597p/641p), United Utilities (UU, 685p/809p), ICI (ICI, 351p/462p), Pilkington (PILK, 157p/176p), Rotork (ROR, 733p/927p), Charter (CHTR, 651p/784p), Whitbread (WTB, £10.74/£11.71), BT Group (BT, 215p/247p) and Corus (CS, 70p/102p).

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