U.S. firms were the most active acquirers of emerging markets companies in the first half of 2011, according to KPMG International, closing 144 deals. This was nearly twice the 82 acquisitions by Canada. The U.K. made 62 deals, followed by Japan, with 61.

KPMG’s Emerging Markets International Acquisition Tracker study includes deals in which an acquirer takes at least a 5% shareholding interest.

The countries that U.S. companies targeted the most were China (26 deals), Brazil (25), Central America and the Caribbean (21), India (18), South America (16) and South and East Asia (16).

“U.S. corporate interest in emerging markets has continued to increase, as companies with strong balance sheets were prepared to pay for attractive opportunities,” said Mark Barnes, principal-in-charge of KPMG’s High Growth Markets Practice. “The opposite investment flow, from emerging countries to the United States, also increased. U.S. businesses may be seen as the most appealing targets because of the strength of their brands, technology and intellectual capital in a market that is tested and proven.”

Emerging markets nations acquired interests in 47 U.S. companies, followed by 22 deals in Australia. The South and East Asia category (14) and India (11) accounted for the majority of acquisitions made in the United States in the first half of 2011.

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.