Buyout groups — companies owned by private equity or venture capital firms — overwhelmingly support Britain staying in the European Union when Britons get to vote on the country’s fate on June 23.
And the opinion of these types of companies are a big deal for Britain — private equity firms own around 3,000 companies across the UK and are responsible for 590,000 jobs.
According an Ipsos Mori poll, cited in the Financial Times, 83% of the 200 firms owned by venture capital investors that were surveyed said that staying part of the EU would be best for their companies.
These private equity backed companies also showed a jump in optimism over the economy with 62% saying they believe conditions in Britain have improved in the past year. 49% added that they expect the economy to improve further.
Another key issue for some of the buyout groups’ bosses is that leaving the EU could hurt the workforce — the poll found that 46% of the executives surveyed said Brexit risks were a concern for their businesses because Britain has a lack of skilled workers.
The poll comes only a couple of weeks after nearly 200 business leaders called for Brits to vote to stay in the European Union in the upcoming referendum on membership in a letter published in The Times.
The signatories include executives at giants such as BP, Credit Suisse, BT, Vodafone, HSBC, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Airbus, AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, and Ryanair.
The key paragraph in the letter signed by 198 business people — including 36 FTSE 100 bosses — reads:
Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest, and create jobs. We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs, and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer, and better off remaining a member of the EU.