Foreign acquisitions – a way to higher productivity and opportunities to expand

March 25, 2020

During the late 1990s, the share of employees in foreign-owned companies increased sharply as the result of a number of large Swedish multinational enterprises (MNEs) becoming foreign-owned. Since then, however, the share has been almost constant. However, the number of foreign acquisitions has increased significantly since the turn of the millennium. We find that, recently, it has mainly been smaller firms in the service sector that have taken over.

Foreign-owned companies (and MNEs in general) are more productive than non-MNEs in the same industry; the former has a productivity premium. One explanation of the productivity premium is that foreign-owned companies have owner-specific assets that make them more productive. Such owner-specific assets could be a unique product or production process, strong brand, rumours of good quality or access to international production and marketing networks.