As part of my day job - senior research analyst in the wonderful world of technology - I am often quoted in the media for my perspectives on technology and its impact on business. Some places contact me fairly regularly. The Chicago Daily Herald is one of my faves. This paper covers the full range of tech companies that are based in the Chicago area, including Motorola, Lucent and Tellabs, and I often get to go deep on some fascinating companies and issues.
Turns out the reporter with whom I often work, Anna Marie Kukec, was attending a press conference on Friday. President George W. Bush was presiding. That's cool enough.
Even cooler was that she got to ask the President a question. She wanted to know about the acquisition of Lucent by the French company, Alcatel - specifically, she asked about the national security implications of a major defence contractor being bought by a foreign firm.
Bush responded by saying he was fine with it. The reporter contacted me for my perspective. I disagreed with Dubya, and I used the case of the proposed sale of a decontented F/A-22 Raptor fighter plane to foreign nations as the basis for my argument. (Yes, sometimes my sponge-like interest in useless trivia pays off.)
So in the end, I get quoted directly opposite the President of the United States - and I'm saying he's basically wrong.
The piece, Bush OK with foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, can be found here. In total violation of every copyright law known to humankind, I'm pasting the text below because it'll be behind a subscriber wall within a week.
Your turn: How cool is that? Should I keep my eyes open for Secret Service visitors to my home?
Here's the piece:
Bush OK with foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies
BY ANNA MARIE KUKEC
Daily Herald Business Writer
Posted Saturday, July 08, 2006
When Lucent Technologies Inc. in March agreed to be acquired by Alcatel, the French company would get more than innovative technology.
Alcatel also would inherit several U.S. military contracts.
While the United States continues its war on terror in Iraq and elsewhere, Lucent is moving ahead with its merger and establish foreign roots.And such foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies with defense contracts doesn't worry President Bush.
"We have laws that prevent sensitive technologies from being transferred as a result of sale and or merger. And we watch that very carefully," Bush said Friday during a news conference at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
"On the broader scale, I have no problem with foreign capital buying U.S. companies; nor do I have a problem with U.S. companies buying foreign companies. That's what free trade is all about."
Bush said many Americans are already working here because of foreign investments.
"A foreign company takes a look at Illinois, they like the tax structure, they like the governance, they like the work force, and they invest," Bush said. "And when they invest, they create jobs. A lot of the jobs in America exist as a result of foreign companies investing here in our country. So I believe in opening markets."
However, some analysts believe Bush is dismissing too quickly the foreign ownership of U.S. companies. And the F/A-22 Raptor fighter aircraft is a prime example, said Carmi Levy, senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group.
"The stealth aircraft incorporates a range of revolutionary technologies which, in the hands of a foreign operator, would be beyond the control of the American firm, Lockheed-Martin, that originated them," said Levy. "It's an easy stretch to ask similar questions about the Lucent-Alcatel deal: namely, will American national interests be maintained through the course of foreign acquisition of American defense contractors?"
Bush should consider the national security ramifications of these types of acquisitions and establish some dialogue or policy to ensure that American response to similar deals in the future is fair, and balances the need to maintain security while allowing American businesses to seek out partnerships that let them continue to survive and thrive, Levy said.