U.K. revises business merger rules

Bloomberg LONDON (Bloomberg) — The British government revised merger and takeover rules, to make it easier to block takeovers of companies when officials are concerned about risks to national security.

The measures that took effect Monday apply to businesses that make technology with military or dual-use applications, including computer hardware. The changes will help keep Britain safe and sustain its reputation as an “open, trading nation,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement. The changes were proposed last year.

The change lets ministers intervene on certain grounds if the target British businesses’ annual revenue exceeds £1 million ($1.3 million), down from £70 million. The new rules also scrap a requirement that a merger needed to increase the combined firms’ market share to 25 percent before a review is started.

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


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