New laws give the UK government the power to block takeovers in 17 sectors of the economy
The UK government’s National Security and Investment Act (NSI) has entered into force, giving the country new powers to intervene in takeovers of companies and investors in 17 vital areas of the economy.
On Tuesday morning, the government issued a press release confirming that the National Statistics Institute law will come into force immediately. The statement described it as The biggest disruption to the UK’s national security system in 20 years. ”
The law gives ministers the ability to review and intervene in takeovers by anyone, including companies and investors, when there is a potential risk to the UK’s national security.
It identifies 17 sectors of the economy where there is a need to give ministers increased powers to oversee acquisitions. They will now be able to securitize transactions in a wide range of fields, including advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, the civilian nuclear sector, transportation, quantum technology, and defense space.
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The government already had certain powers to block deals where foreign acquisition could affect things like economic stability, media pluralism, and response to pandemics.
He added: “The UK is known globally as an attractive place to invest, but we have always been clear that we will not hesitate to step in if necessary to protect our national security.” Business Minister Kwasi Kwarting said in a statement.
The move comes amid widespread controversy over the $40 billion ($54 billion) deal for US multinational Nvidia to buy British chip maker ARM.
British companies have always been easy options for multinational and private equity firms in the United States. Recent acquisitions of defense suppliers Ultra Electronics and Meggitt have also caught the government’s attention.
Other industries, notably pharmaceuticals, have been the target of US-led acquisitions.
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