CONCERNS over speculators buying up shares to swing the vote in the hostile take over of GKN have been dismissed by the Business Secretary.

The engineering giant, which opened an 'Innovation Centre' in Abingdon focusing on vehicle technology last year, was bought by investment company Melrose for £8.1bn on Thursday after securing the backing of shareholders.

A total of 52.43 per cent investor votes were cast in favour of the deal going ahead, just above the 50 per cent plus one share threshold.

Melrose has stressed its takeover will improve "not only GKN, but the UK economy", committing to keeping the firm listed in London and headquartered in the UK as part of a five-year pledge.

But the takeover has sparked fears for jobs after Airbus, GKN's largest customer, warned it could not give any new business to the firm if the deal with the turnaround specialist went ahead.

Unions and MPs have also warned over asset stripping and flagged national security concerns.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said that Melrose's victory was only secured "through votes from short-term speculators", a reference to the large number of hedge funds that make up GKN's share register.

But Business Secretary Greg Clark said he saw nothing wrong, explaining: "Those shareholders that bought their shares very recently of course bought them from other shareholders that chose not in effect to back the continuing management."

The Government has a statutory responsibility to consider whether the merger gives rise to public interest concerns. The UK's aerospace and defence trade association ADS said the Government must assess whether the bid should be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority.

GKN has a history that dates back to the 1900s and was instrumental in wartime manufacturing. It became a target following profit warnings in October and November after problems at its US aerospace division sent shares tumbling.

It is headquartered in Redditch and has its biggest factory in Filton near Bristol, where it employs 1,454 workers.