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BRITAIN IS TOP BUYER IN US

British companies were the No. 1 buyers of United States companies in 1988, purchasing 420 companies worth $32.7 billion. The figure comes from KPMG Peat Marwick, an international accounting and management consulting firm, which earlier this month released a survey of international mergers and acquisitions.

Other leading purchasers of US companies were Canada ($9.6 billion), Japan ($8.4 billion), France ($7.3 billion), and Australia ($4.2 billion), according to the firm.

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It said the most popular industries for foreign acquisition were food, drink, and tobacco ($9.7 billion); paper, printing, and publishing ($9.1 billion); retailing ($8.4 billion); and engineering products ($8.4 billion).