Corporate Blitzkrieg

From the February 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Following in the wake of the German takeover of prime British water company Thames Water last year, e.on—Germany’s biggest utility company—has bid to take over the British electricity firm Powergen.

The German takeover bid follows a trend of German corporate aggression over the past few years in gobbling up strategic industries in Europe. Industries involved in the new German corporate blitzkrieg are power, gas, water, telecommunications and media enterprises. These are those industries which no nation wishes to have in the hands of an enemy when the going gets tough.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and Hungary have all felt, and succumbed to, the hot breath of the German strategic industry takeover binge. At the time we go to press, the British-German power deal has not yet consummated. If it does, it may prove to be a step closer to cross-Atlantic strategic industry takeovers in the U.S.

The Teutonic takeover team is eyeing California. That state’s electricity-generating companies are broke. This winter, they were unable to supply sufficient power to keep areas of California from blackout. Outside sources would not sell power to them to cover their shortfall, as they had no guarantee of payment. The California utility companies are ripe for takeover.

Will we yet see this German corporate blitzkrieg descend upon the U.S. with an offer to bail out ailing strategic utility industries? California cannot afford another winter of inconsistent supply. The coffers are full of cash at e.on, and German corporatism is on the march to increase its hold, internationally, on strategic industries.