The big chill in U.S.-China M+A

April 12, 2011

Today’s special report looks at U.S.-China M&A activity – or rather the lack of it. Drawing on previously unpublished State Department cables, the report examines how the failed Unocal bid and other high profile aborted transactions made it difficult for companies in China and the United States to do deals with one another.

Last year, U.S. companies in China struck dozens of small deals but they were collectively worth just $3.2 billion, while Chinese companies spent only $3 billion on U.S. acquisitions, Thomson Reuters data shows. That is a remarkably trivial amount given the two nation’s deepening economic relations: China is one of America’s top creditors and the U.S. is by far China’s largest export market. 

Last week, China’s biggest metals trading firm, Minmetals Resources, said it had offered more than all those deals put together — $6.5 billion — to buy one company, but it wasn’t American. It was the Sydney and Toronto-listed African copper producer Equinox Minerals.

See the special report “The U.S. and China start an M&A Cold War” in multimedia PDF format here.

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