UK Enterprise Act to be Amended to Allow British Government to Review Foreign Takeovers

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Business Secretary Alok Sharma Credit: No10 flickr

BUSINESS SECRETARY Alok Sharma has announced that changes to the Enterprise Act would go to parliament to allow the government to scrutinise foreign takeovers to ensure they do not threaten the UK’s ability to combat a public health emergency such as coronavirus.

The reason being that economic disruption caused by the pandemic may mean that some businesses with critical capabilities are more susceptible to takeovers, either from what are described as outwardly hostile approaches, or financially distressed companies being sold to malicious parties.

These new powers will enable the government to intervene if a business that is directly involved in a pandemic response, for example, a vaccine research company or personal protective equipment manufacture finds itself the target of a takeover.

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In addition, these changes will expand powers to scrutinise and intervene in respect of mergers in three sectors of the economy central to national security – artificial intelligence, cryptographic authentication technology and advanced materials – by lowering the thresholds that must be met before such scrutiny can take place.

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