A recently strengthened regime and proposed changes – a different environment for foreign investor
Current strengthened regime – an overview
• Merger control – competition review by EC or UK CMA depending on turnover thresholds.
• If EC thresholds are met, UK can still review mergers to protect “legitimate interests” as per Article 21(4) EUMR:
“Member States may take appropriate measures to protect legitimate interests […] Public security, plurality of the media and prudential rules shall be regarded as legitimate interests.”
• EC has the final word on what qualifies as “legitimate interest” in accordance with EU law.
• E.g. UK reviewed Fox/Sky over media plurality concerns.
• UK can also protect “essential security interests” under Article 346 TFEU (i.e. arms, munitions and war material).
• Mergers and investments remain subject to relevant sectoral and licensing regimes (including water, financial services, energy, commodities etc.).
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