Increasing numbers of social enterprises will take over private companies as a way of expanding their business, sector figures have predicted.
Nigel Kershaw, chief executive of social investment fund Big Issue Invest, told Third Sector he believed acquisitions would become easier for social enterprises because fewer private firms were trying to buy others.
"Two years ago we looked to set up an acquisition fund for social enterprises, but the prices of companies were very high," he said.
"But prices have come down, and I expect to see a lot more acquisitions by social enterprises."
Dai Powell, chief executive of community transport company HCT Group and a government social enterprise ambassador, said he expected to see more social companies buying out and forming joint ventures with profit-making businesses.
"One of the main ways the sector can grow is through acquisition," he said. "It's not something that has been done much so far, but the potential is there."