German govt agrees changes to takeover rules

20 August 2008 15:02  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s government under Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed a draft law to change takeover and merger rules for bids from outside the European Union, it said on Wednesday.


Under the new rules the Ministry of Economics would have the power to examine and block bids for stakes of 25% or more by bidders from non-EU countries.


The main test for approval was “public order and security” as defined under EU law, said Economics Minister Michael Glos.


The test had a high threshold and takeovers would likely fail only in exceptional cases.


“The bulk of foreign investments won't be affected by the draft law,” said Glos. “Germany is and remains open to foreign investment.”


Sovereign wealth funds, for example, typically acquired considerably less than 25%, he added.


The new review process would have to be initiated within three months after a takeover was agreed, thus providing high legal certainty for participants, Glos said.


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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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