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 hadheadquarters 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 moderneconomic 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 thoseinterested 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.