Canadians firms have been buying a higher number of foreign-owned businesses over the past 10 years, says the president of M&A International, Howard E. Johnson.

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In fact, Canadians acquired 4,787 foreign-owned businesses between 2004 and 2013, whereas only 3,544 foreign-owned businesses purchased Canadian companies.

“Many people might be surprised to learn that Canadians are more often the aggressor in a deal versus the sellers and we saw that really increase since 2009,” says Johnson. “High-quality Canadian companies with capital for spending have been quietly buying up companies around the world for the past 10 years and it’s across the board in a variety of sectors.”

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Canadian firms were the aggressors in eight out of 11 categories (materials, financials, consumer discretionary, energy, consumer staples, utilities, telecom and other), while foreign firms have been slightly more active in acquiring Canadian firms in the information technology, industrials and healthcare segments.

In the financial and materials sectors, Canadian companies bought almost three times as many companies as they sold. Geographically, close to 60% of the companies purchased by Canadians were in the U.S., roughly 16% in Europe, 14% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 6% in Asia Pacific and 4% in Africa and the Middle East.

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“Canadian companies are becoming of increasing interest to strategic buyers around the world. The strength and performance of Canadian companies and the Canadian economy during the 2008 credit crisis attracted a lot of attention in the international community,” adds Johnson.

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