Foreign Investment:

Foreign Hostile Takeovers of U.S. Firms

NSIAD-89-80FS: Published: Dec 15, 1988. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on foreign firms' hostile takeovers of U.S. corporations.

GAO found that: (1) the Federal Trade Commission receives pre-merger notifications, but discontinued its annual reporting on corporate mergers and acquisitions in 1981; (2) in the first half of 1988, there were only 6 completed foreign hostile takeovers of U.S. firms, compared to 203 foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms, and 1,340 U.S. acquisitions of U.S. firms; (3) total foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms increased from 6 percent of all transactions in 1984 to 13 percent in 1988; (4) foreign firms completed only 17 hostile takeovers of U.S. firms over the past 4 years, compared to a total of 77 completed hostile takeovers, successfully completed 68 percent of their takeover attempts, compared to a success rate of 40 percent for all takeovers; (5) British firms completed 8 of the 17 takeovers, Canadian firms completed 3, French firms completed 2, and Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, and Swiss firms completed 1 each; (6) in only 6 of the 17 completed hostile takeovers did a publicly identified U.S. firm compete with the acquiring foreign firm; and (7) foreign takeovers occurred in a variety of industries, with no apparent pattern.

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