Source: Business Insider
Here’s a story you’ll be hearing about a lot this year.
Chinese companies have beenbuying up foreign businesses — including American ones — at a record rate, and it’s freaking out lawmakers.
There is General Electric’s sale of its appliance business to Qingdao-based Haier, Zoomlion’s bid forthe heavy-lifting-equipment maker Terex Corporation, andChemChina’s record-breakingdeal for the Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta, valued at $48 billion.
Most recently, a unit of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group on Wednesday said it would buy the technology distributor Ingram Micro for $6 billion.
And the most contentious deal so far might be the Chinese-led investor group Chongqing Casin Enterprise’s bid for the Chicago Stock Exchange.
A Chinese deal spree
To date, there have been 102 Chinese outbound mergers-and-acquisitions deals announced this year, amounting to $81.6 billion in value, according to Dealogic. That’s up from 72 deals worth $11 billion in the same period last year.
And they’re not expected to let up anytime soon. Slow economic growth in China and cheap prices abroad due to the stock market’s recent sell-off suggest the opposite.
“With the slowdown of the economy, Chinese corporates are increasingly looking to inorganic avenues to supplement their growth,” Vikas Seth, head of emerging markets in the investment-banking and capital-markets department at Credit Suisse, told Business Insider earlier this month.
China’s economic growth in 2015 was its slowest in 25 years.
The law firm O’Melveny & Myers recently surveyed their mainly China-based clients and found that the economic growth potential in the US was the main factor making it an attractive investment destination.
Nearly half of respondents agreed that the US was the most attractive market for investment, but 47% felt that US laws and regulations were a major barrier.
They’d be right about that.
A major barrier
Forty-five members of Congress this week signed a letter to the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, urging it to conduct a “full and rigorous investigation” of the Chicago Stock Exchange acquisition.
“This proposed acquisition would be the first time a Chinese-owned, possibly state-influenced, firm maintained direct access into the $22 trillion US equity marketplace,” the letter reads.
“While it is unclear the level of influence the state holds over CCEG, the firm is involved in a number of important Chinese sectors that would likely require close ties to the state.”
CFIUS is meant to vet deals for any national-security issues. It recently prevented the $3.3 billion sale of Philips’ lighting business to a group of buyers in Asia, but its reasons for blocking that deal weren’t disclosed.