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Biggest Business Mergers & Takeovers in History
Throughout history, large companies have been bought and sold for huge sums of money. However, many people believe that the biggest mergers & takeovers have come more recently in history as tech companies have become well-known for big name mergers. The only way to accurately compare deals throughout history is to convert them to current dollars, which which has been done in this infographic below from Hays Firm LLC.
Mega-mergers first started in 1708, when the British East India Company bought out their rival English Company Trading to the East Indies. This deal was sealed with a 3.2 million pound loan to the government, which gave them exclusive rights to British trade in India- a deal that would have been worth around $722 million today.
Later, steel companies became players in major business deals when the U.S. Steel was founded by the merger of the Carnegie Steel Company, the Federal Steel Company, and the National Steel Company; J.P. Morgan bought these companies in 1901 for $492 million, or $13.95 billion today.
In 2000, America Online bought Time Warner for $186.2 billion, or $257.84 billion in today’s money, which was the biggest tech acquisition at that time. Recently, tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have been making large purchases of other businesses.
However, the biggest business transaction of all time still belongs to Vodafone, with their 1999 purchase of Mannesmann for $185.1 billion, equivalent to $263.2 billion. This transaction created the largest mobile phone operator at the time, with over 42 million customers across Europe. The AOL-Time Warner deal is the only transaction even close to the Vodafone-Mannesmann deal, and all others are less than half of the Vodafone purchase total, paving the way for Vodafone to hold the title of the biggest business transaction in history.