Promotion, finance and mergers in Canadian manufacturing industry, 1885-1918
The existing research on the first merger waves in the United States, Britain, and to a lesser extent in Germany, has produced valuable information on the rise of the modern industrial enterprise. These studies reveal important similarities as well as a few significant differences in the nature of the economic development of these nations. A new merger series for Canadian manufacturing industry was generated to provide a further comparison. In addition, a large pool of information was gathered concerning the workings of promotional syndicates, corporate flotations, and secondary financial markets. This aggregate data, in conjunction with a case study of the most prominent Canadian promoter of the era and the companies he consolidated, is used to determine the relationship between security financing and the evolution of manufacturing industry in Canada. An explanation of the cause of the first Canadian merger wave, 1909-1912, is based on individual case evidence and the results of causality tests using aggregate data. The necessary pre-condition to a merger wave was the emergence of a broad market for Canadian industrial securities. Although high stock prices stimulated merger waves in Britain and the United States at the turn of the century, the first Canadian merger wave had to wait another decade until the expansion of the Canadian market and the tapping of the British market for Canadian "industrials" permitted large-scale flotations. The potential profits which were available through corporate reorganisation, rationalisation of manufacturing and distribution networks, and monopolisation, were reflected in the higher rates of return which British investors sought en masse in the new Canadian securities. This flood of British capital in turn accelerated the industrial transformation taking place in Canada and encouraged further mergers. High stock prices triggered the first merger movement as they had in Britain and the United States. Corporate financiers became merger promoters as they catapulted propositions into consolidations large enough to be listed on public stock exchanges and to be of interest to prospective investors. High-risk financial methods provided the incentive to financial intermediaries to broaden this market as quickly as possible and, therefore, to deliver the maximum amount of cash to the new industrial consolidations.