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Milwaukee-area executives are doing a lot of shopping in Europe these days.
They're not crossing the Atlantic, however, to pick up Hermes neckties or Gucci handbags. They're looking for businesses to buy as they try to expand their own companies in a market of 510 million people.
Led by firms like Applied Power Inc. and Universal Foods Corp., many Milwaukee-area companies have been busy the past few years pursuing acquisitions in Europe and other parts of the world.
Some are doing it because the growth opportunities are better overseas than they are domestically, while others are doing it to meet the ever-increasing demands of global customers.
"As the larger customers execute global strategies with global products, they really would prefer to have suppliers that can go with them and support them wherever they want to be," said Richard Sim, chairman and chief executive officer of Applied Power.
The Butler-based diversified …