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Welcome those foreign takeovers. At least someone still dares invest here

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The US$10-billion takeover of Vancouver-based Goldcorp by the U.S. firm Newmont Mining Corp. announced last month on the heels of the sale of Toronto-based Barrick Gold to a South African company last fall, has many Canadians reflexively reaching for their torches and pitchforks, ready to fend off any more foreign takeovers of our leading resource firms.

Governments get it right when they don’t intervene with foreign takeovers except when it’s for legitimate concerns about national security. The track record of government involvement in foreign investment transactions shows a distressing lack of business acumen, encouraging foreign asset purchases at their peak while blocking once-in-a-lifetime selling opportunities.

The historian Michael Bliss pointed out that the National Energy Program prodded Canadians to buy foreign oil companies at their highest price of the century, making foreign capitalists the primary beneficiaries of our misguided nationalism. More recently, following a wave of foreign purchases of Canadian natural resource companies in the early 2000s, the federal government blocked BHP Billiton’s $39-billion bid for Potash Corp. in 2010. Then shareholders watched as Potash’s stock price tumbled from $130 to $17, costing........

© Financial Post