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Spending On Acquisitions Hits New High

Bloomberg News

Companies around the world spent a record $284 billion last year on acquisitions outside their borders, a leading accounting and consulting firm said.

The value of cross-border acquisitions grew 20 percent in 1996 from $237 billion last year, KPMG Peat Marwick said in a study, and U.S. companies were the prime targets.

Companies outside the U.S. spent a record $89 billion buying U.S. companies in 1996, up 46 percent from the $61 billion they spent in the previous year.

“It’s a simple truth that the U.S. boasts the world’s largest and most stable economy - a perennial first choice for global expansion,” said Steve Blum, a KPMG partner.

Even as the dollar value of mergers reached that record, the number of mergers shrank.

The number of cross-border transactions fell 12 percent to 5,537 in 1996 from 6,310 in the previous year, KPMG said. Purchases of U.S. companies by non-U.S. buyers fell 17 percent to 730 from 877.

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