U.S. Tops List for Foreign Acquisitions for 1st Time

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ American investors outspent their Japanese and European counterparts on foreign acquisitions in 1992, shelling out $13.3 billion to buy 342 foreign companies, according to a survey released Monday.

It was the first time the United States led in the global survey, conducted since 1988 by KMPG Peat Marwick, an accounting and consulting firm.

French companies, which spent $13 billion on 245 transactions in 1991 to lead the world in cross-border buying, fell to second place with 180 deals valued at $9.9 billion.

The Japanese, facing a continuing slump and tight credit at home, completed only 79 acquisitions for $3.5 billion _ paltry compared with the tens of billions spent during the country's 1980s buying binge.

Worldwide acquisitions jumped by 30 percent last year to $72.6 billion, compared with $54.4 billion in 1991, the survey showed. But the international mergers and acquisitions market _ which topped $130 billion in 1989 _ remains sluggish.

The total number of transactions dropped by more than a thousand to 1,810 in 1992. However, there were 10 cross-border "mega deals" worth $1 billion and over, up from only two in 1991.

The largest single deal by a U.S. company was tobacco producer Philip Morris' $1.4 billion purchase of Norwegian food company Freia Marabou.

While U.S. overseas buying was up by $5. …

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