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My Two Cents

The U.S. for Sale: the 1980s vs. the 2000s

Chris Farrell Dec 27, 2007

In the 1980s, there was a lot of concern about foreign companies and investors snapping up U.S. assets. Most of the worry was concentrated on the Japanese, although British companies and European companies were also active buyers. With the benefit of hindsight, American companies got the better end of the deal, with Japanese corporate investors paying top dollar. And in a number of cases U.S. investors and companies bought back the assets at a much cheaper price.

This time appears to be different. The sovereign wealth funds are purchasing stakes in leading U.S. financial institutions on the cheap. They’re getting a good deal, smartly taking advantage of the turmoil in the credit markets. I also think that we should encourage more investments from the sovereign wealth funds as they will knit closer ties between the U.S. economy and much of Asia and the Middle East.

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