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New merger and takeover rules came into force in UK

Staff Writer | June 13, 2018
Updated rules to strengthen the government’s powers to scrutinise mergers and takeovers that may raise national security concerns came into force.
UK government
Britain   UK government amended the threshold tests
In order to address changes in the market, the government amended the threshold tests for businesses in the military, dual-use, computing hardware and quantum technology sectors that are most likely to have implications for our security.

The changes follow a consultation launched last year to amend the Enterprise Act to reform and strengthen the government’s powers. Today’s new rules are the first step, with broader changes to be announced in a white paper later this year.

Ministers can only intervene in mergers and takeovers (foreign or domestic) that give rise to specific public interest concerns of national security, financial stability or media plurality.

However, for ministers to be able to intervene, the transaction had to meet certain thresholds.

These were that the target company had a UK turnover of over £70 million, or that the merger took the merging parties’ combined share of supply to 25% or more (or increased an existing share of supply of 25% or more).

There were limited exceptions to this related to some defence and media transactions.