Snapping Up South America

As multinationals buy in, companies modernize

For the holidays, the multinationals went on a shopping spree in Latin America. On Christmas Eve, New Jersey-based energy group GPU Inc. agreed to buy Argentine electricity distributor Emdersa for $435 million. Days earlier, French supermarket giant Carrefour said it would take over Brazilian department store chain Lojas Americanas. In Chile, Citigroup agreed to buy the country's No. 2 consumer-finance company for $83 million. In just the last two weeks of the year, multinationals announced no fewer than 10 major acquisitions in the region.

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