Updated company merger and takeover rules enforced by Department for Business

Updated rules put in place to strengthen the Government’s powers to scrutinise mergers and takeovers that may raise national security concerns have come into force. The move recognises the growing importance of British businesses in developing cutting-edge technology products with national security applications.

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 national security.

Today’s changes allow ministers to intervene on certain grounds when a given target business’ UK turnover is more than £1 million. This is down from £70 million under the previous rules. The alterations also remove the requirement that a merger or takeover in these sectors lead to an increase in the parties’ combined share of supply of relevant goods or services before the Government is able to intervene.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said: “These new rules ensure that mergers and takeovers in key areas of the economy cannot risk our national security, while also maintaining the openness to trade and investment that’s underpinned by the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy.”

The changes follow in the wake of a consultation launched last year to amend the Enterprise Act and both 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 on this year.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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