Last time, in my new Hollowing Out series, I began taking a look at the Globe & Mail’s list of Canada’s largest 1000 companies back in 1996. (This list is not freely available online to my knowledge, so I cannot link to it.) I found that around 30% of the largest 100 companies on that list had since been sold to foreign interests — a ratio I thought was fairly disturbing, although not nearly as bad as it could have been or, indeed, as bad as some people have been led to believe.
I’ve now finished going through the top 300 on the list, and the numbers have changed somewhat, but today I want to ask a slightly different question: if a large minority of major Canadian companies aren’t Canadian anymore, who’s buying them all? The answer is, predictably, mostly American. But not entirely American.
China doesn’t yet figure prominently on this list, but if the recent wave of acquisitions in the energy sector is any indication, they will in coming years. Here’s how the foreign ownership picture stacks up for whatwereCanada’s largest 300 companies in 1996: