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Extra resources for American Investment in British Manufacturing Industry: Revised and Updated Edition
Only in the case of public companies, and the larger private companies, have we obtained any details about the capital and financial structure of US affiliates in this country, and these are further analysed in Chapter 4. Throughout our analysis, the definition of American firm’ is the same as that used by the US Department of Commerce: no allowance has been made for British firms in which the US financial stake is less than 25 per cent of the equity capital, nor for any of the very large number of British firms which have licensing agreements (but no financial associations) with US companies.
For example, Selfridges Ltd was formed on American business practice, theories and ideals in 1909, and in the following year the first of the 950 Woolworth stores was opened. 55 By the outbreak of the First World War, then, American business interests had permeated—and for the most part successfully—a wide section of British industry and commerce. At the same time, continuing its earlier pattern of selectivity, the investment was almost entirely confined to the newer fields of production where the commercial supremacy of the United States was at that time most pronounced.
Though the Ford Motor Company was already a leading UK manufacturer, several new motor-car companies and component suppliers set up branch units in the 1920s. Most noticeable of these was the purchase of Vauxhall Ltd by the General Motors Corporation of New York, in 1927. 60 In the same year, the two largest United States’ tyre companies— the Goodyear Rubber Company and Firestone Rubber Company—commenced manufacturing operations in the UK: both firms had been importing from their parent company for some years previously.