A tale from two cities

Mergers & Acquisitions 

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Around the world and back again: Mercedes and BMW venture out of Germany but find no place like home

Traveling from the Mercedes-Benz corporate headquarters in Stuttgart to BMW’s in Munich, you would have to drive eastwards, eventually down either of two autobahns. If you chose the older A8, you might cut your travel time by up to thirty minutes, otherwise choosing the A96 - by first going south, down the A7 - might take you the full complement of 2 hours and 38 minutes, a total travel distance of about 160 miles. Much of Germany’s autobahns haven’t speed limits, however, so your time might be even shorter, depending on your speed proclivities. But both Mercedes and BMW would argue that the trip, in either direction, is most pleasurable if done in their car. What isn’t arguable, though, is that the long transatlantic trips they both made by mergers and acquisitions in the 90s and 2000s, thousands of miles from the A8 and across the Atlantic (...) in search of larger market shares and heavier profits, were not pleasurable at all.

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Why do German carmakers fail at love outside of Germany?

A comparative and detailed look into the expansion strategies (mergers and acquisitions, foreign direct investment) of Mercedes Benz and BMW through the 1990s to 2000s.

multinational corporations • international expansion • culture alignment • brand conflict • economies of scale • managerial control • intangible assets • synergies fit • diversification & growth strategies • brand equity dilution • technology transfer • etc

Twenty years ago, mainly oil extracting conglomerates and other commodity hunters sailed for Africa, and they packed plenty lifeboats. Then came events in a flurry and suddenly - well, not quite; “steadily” might be a better word - the “dark” continent didn’t look so dark after all. For the past 15 years at least, Africa has outpaced the developed countries in economic growth rates. In the past 10 or so, those rates have been accompanied by a growing awareness within Africa that their continent must embrace better and sturdier institutional frameworks, for their own good. The result has been a solid march towards policies and practices that would only have been remotely glanced at, twenty years ago. True, there remain big impediments but, nevertheless, this looks to be the continent’s time. And more and more international businesses are warming to that theme.

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Business in Africa

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The 12 countries your business should be heading to in Africa

Probably the most rigorous economic rankings of the continent's 50+ countries you'll come across.

Overseas Aid

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Carrots and sticks and Santa Claus

There is the story as told by the billionaire philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim, who found himself sat next to the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, at some fancy diplomatic event. "Mr. Mugabe," begins Ibrahim, about to pose a question that's been on the world's lips for an eternity, "when are you going to say goodbye to the Zimbabwean people?" Mugabe turns to face him, feigning bemusement and mock surprise. "Goodness, why?," was his sly reply, "Are they going anywhere?"

We need an agreeable method of measuring aid effectiveness that doesn't require interminable meetings and cause donor diplomats' hairs to bristle. Here's a candidate.

Generic Plc (not real name) supplies industrial valve safety products to the oil and gas industry. They are headquartered in Europe and now intend to make greater inroads in the Americas market. Where should they start? 

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Oil & Gas in the Americas

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The Americas oil & gas market: where should this valves manufacturer go?

This European oil & gas services company seeks to expand its reach in Canada, USA, Mexico and the rest of Latin America and the Carribean; how should it do so?