Infosys announced this week that it has bought Axon Group, an IT consulting firm in the UK. This follows a series of other high-profile global acquisitions by Indian companies over the past couple of years.
According to recent estimates, Indian companies are likely to spend around $20 billion this year to buy global peers—at a time when the going may get tougher.
Many countries are busy putting up subtle barriers to FDI, though only in strategic sectors. But more general economic xenophobia is also possible, all the more so if the recession bites harder in the Western world.
The US and UK have been known to have fewer qualms about allowing their companies to be sold. Unlike continental Europe, they are not obsessed with emotional attachment to “national champions”, as countries such as France and Germany are. Compare the ease with which Tata Steel bought Corus with the dogfight that broke out when Mittal Steel first eyed Arcelor.
That is perhaps why the biggest global acquisitions by Indians have been in these two Anglo-Saxon countries. The question is how the other citadels are to be scaled in the years ahead.