Internationalization and the Rearrangement of Ownership of Firms and Parts of Firms: Grindlays Bank, 1828-2000
Grindlays Bank, a British overseas bank whose operations spanned South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has a particularly long and rich history. As a multi-unit organization, Grindlays provides a good example of the point that if one wishes to understand the internationalization process of such a firm — the mechanisms that determine the geographical scope of its operations — one must take into account the rearrangement of ownership of units (primarily branches). As Grindlays’ strategy changed, frequently as a function of changes in its ownership, Grindlays responded by buying or selling units. It also lost units to actions of governments. However, it is the rearrangement of ownership of branches that is the most provocative observation in that it suggests the hypothesis that strategic advantage in banks does not reside at the branch level.
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