Wednesday, February 1, 2006

The awakening of Titans

So the time has come. Indian and Chinese companies have grown to a size that allows them to buy western companies. This is a milestone in business history. By the way, it may be time to consider teaching Hindi and Mandarin in our schools because that's where the action will be in the coming centuries.

I am really impressed to hear some of the reactions to the recent bid by Mittal Steel on Europe's Arcelor. There was even somebody on French radio france Inter saying that there should be an independent expertise on Mittal Steel to assess its financial situation before the deal goes through. That's pure manipulation of information because Mittal Steel is quoted on the stock market in New York (NYSE; symbol: MT) and therefore, unless we challenge the long held belief that markets are perfect, we must consider that it is properly valued and that they have the right to attempt a hostile take-over of Arcelor. Personally I don't have an opinion on the matter as I don't know the steel industry very well, but I am shocked at the way this piece of news is covered. It definitely is either a protectionist reaction tainted with a bit of xenophobia or yet another manifestation of inconsistency and variable geometry in the rhetoric about market logic.

And, as all these interesting events are taking place our European leaders are conducting the very important business of negotiating exeptions to the Union's VAT legislation or having urgent useless crisis meetings to find ways to repel "the Indian predator" as Mittal is described in a shockingly insulting way...

I wonder how things would have been presented if a European company was to go after an Indian, a Chinese or a Brazilian one...

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