Hollowing Out, Part 1: 30 of Canada’s Top 100 Companies in 1995 Have Since Been Taken Over by Multinational Corporations
In honour of the recent controversy over the proposed takeover of Nexen by the government of China (since only foreign governments are allowed to make money off of Canada’s oil patch, not our own government), I thought it might be nice to start a major new project, devoted to studying the hollowing out of the Canadian corporate sector. It begins with the question: Exactly how many major companies are being bought out by foreign competitors? Aside from the few high profile cases — Nexen, Tim Horton’s, Molson, The Bay, etc. — how common is this, really?
The Globe & Mail, aka the Daily Plagiarist, provides an answer. Every year since 1984, the Globe’s Report on Business has listed Canada’s top 1000 publicly traded companies, and a varying number of its top privately held companies, by profit and revenue. Unfortunately I don’t have the early lists, but I have been given access to the 1996 list, and have started putting it into a spreadsheet. This will mark the beginning of a major project to explore the answers to the question I asked in the first paragraph.
I’ve only just got started, but the numbers for the top 100 companies by profit, which had gross revenues ranging from around $300 million to $25 billion, are revealing. In 1995, 7 of Canada’s top 100 companies were controlled by foreign multinationals. However, in 2012, 37 of those companies were now foreign-owned.
Which is to say that in the last 17 years, one in three of the country’s largest corporations has been taken over by foreign interests. This includes a few countries that went bankrupt and had their remains snatched up by outside companies, like Nortel, but most of the takeovers were mergers of still-apparently-solvent companies by foreign multinationals.
Let the Great Canadian Fire-Sale continue.Tweet