Investment nosedives amid credit crisis

The knock-on effect from the collapse of the US sub-prime market is being felt internationally as the number of global private equity deals fell 64 per cent to its lowest level for two and a half years.

The drop is significant, because several largeUKretailers have been at the centre of feverish speculation about potential private equity takeovers or refinancing this year.

The share prices of supermarkets Morrisons, Sainsbury's and general and DIY retailer Home Retail Group have all been buoyed by takeover speculation this year.

The 64 per cent fall in deals comes after a three year boom in private equity investment spurred on by billion-dollar funds and the availability of cheap debt.

According to theOffice for National Statistics, foreign takeovers for the second quarter of this year had reached a record£49 billion. This is expected to fall sharply in light of the crisis in the credit markets.