Compiled byMichael A. Verespej For the first time since 1995, the U.S. is not the world leader in global merger mania. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris says that Great Britain accounted for one-third of the world's merger and acquisition value in 1999 as British firms spent US$246 billion to acquire foreign companies. U.S. companies spent the next highest amount, $145 billion. The OECD says that the number of cross-border mergers jumped 50% to more than 5,000 in 1999, with the U.S. remaining the most popular place to find an acquisition. Other countries spent $293 billion to buy U.S. firms. The second biggest target country: Great Britain, where $123 billion was spent.