Free-standing companies are a special type of multinational enterprise that proliferated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; some persisted into later years; few remain today. Many were headquartered in the United Kingdom, but important free-standing companies had headquarters in the other capital-rich nations. This book explores the history of the free-standing company, the theoretical implications of the concept, comparisons with the `American
model' multinational enterprise, the validity of the concept, and its contribution to the understanding of modern economic history. Leading international scholars - economists and
historians - provide evidence on and analysis of the operations of free-standing companies in different parts of the world. This is the first book on the much-discussed topic of free-standing companies. The volume will provide a rich quarry for those interested in world economic history, regional and national economic histories, in the spread of international business, and in the different forms that multinational enterprises take through time.