The external growth of a sample of large German enterprises for the 1880–1913 period is here investigated. External growth, defined as acquisition of existing firms and measured by the reported value of their assets, is found to have accounted for no more than one-fifth of average overall enterprise growth in the period. An examination of individual examples, however, reveals that external growth was frequently decisive for the growth of survivor enterprises and, in some sectors, a significant contributor to concentration. Some quantitative tests suggest that financial factors, and particularly stock prices, significantly influenced external growth. The paper concludes by comparing German with British and American findings.