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Finite Projects with Finite LivesEven with a longer-term investment, it is critical that the project have a definite ending point at which all debt and equity has been repaid. Because the project is a stand-alone investment in which its cash flows go directly to the servicing of its capital structure and not to reinvestment for growth or other investment alternatives, investors of allkinds need assurances that the project’s returns will be attained in a finite period. There is no capital appreciation, only cash flow.Examples of project finance include some of the largest individual investments undertaken in the past three decades, such as British Petroleum’s financing of its interest in the North Sea, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline was a joint venture between Standard Oil of Ohio, Atlantic Richfield, Exxon, British Petroleum, Mobil Oil, Philips Petroleum, Union Oil, and Amerada Hess. Each of these projects was at or above $1 billion, and represented capital expendituresthat no single firm would or could attempt to finance. Yet, through a joint
venture arrangement, the higher than normal risk absorbed by the capital employed could be managed.Cross-Border Mergers and AcquisitionsThe drivers of M&A activity, summarized in Exhibit 18.7, are both macro inscope—the global competitive environment—and micro in scope—the variety of industry and firm-level forces and actions driving individual firm value. The primary forces of change in the global competitive environment—technological change, regulatory change, and capital market change—create new business opportunities for MNEs, which they pursue aggressively.But the global competitive environment is really just the playing field, the ground upon which the individual players compete. MNEs undertake cross-border mergers and acquisitions for a variety of reasons. As shown in Exhibit 18.7, the drivers are strategic responses by MNEs to defend andenhance their global competitiveness.As opposed to greenfield investment, a cross-border acquisitionhas a number of significant advantages. First and foremost, it is quicker. Greenfield investment frequently requires extended periods of physical construction and organizational development. By acquiring an existing firm, the MNE shortens the time required to gain a presence and facilitate competitive entry into the market. Second, acquisition may be a cost-effective way of gaining competitive advantages, such as technology, brand names valued in the target market, and logistical and distribution advantages, while simultaneously eliminating a local competitor. Third, specific to cross-border acquisitions, international economic, political, and foreign exchange conditions may result in market imperfections, allowing target firms to be undervalued.