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Acquisitions as entrepreneurship: asymmetries, opportunities, and the internationalization of multinationals from emerging economies

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Abstract

We investigate the rapid internationalization of many multinationals from emerging economies through acquisition in advanced economies. We conceptualize these acquisitions as an act and form of entrepreneurship, aimed to overcome the ‘liability of emergingness’ incurred by these firms and to serve as a mechanism for competitive catch-up through opportunity seeking and capability transformation. Our explanation emphasizes (1) the unique asymmetries (and not necessarily advantages) distinguishing emerging multinationals from advanced economy multinationals due to their historical and institutional differences, as well as (2) a search for advantage creation when firms possess mainly ordinary resources. The argument shifts the central focus from advantage to asymmetries as the starting point for internationalization and, additionally, highlights the role of learning agility rather than ability as a potential ‘asset of emergingness.’

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