Mergers and acquisitions in Latin America are agreed deals by necessity because few companies have enough shares in the public markets to allow for hostile bids. Electricidad de Caracas, the city's listed electric utility, was an exception. It had no controlling shareholder and in April 2000 became the target of the first and only successful hostile takeover in Latin America. For owners of Latin America's closely held corporations, EDC's fate is an object lesson in the perils of life in the equity markets. For foreign investors, AES's saga in Venezuela highlights the thrills and the dangers of investing in Latin America.
Before the takeover,...
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