The UK Government has invited comments on a draft Statement which explains how the Secretary of State’s power to call in acquisitions for review will be used.  This Consultation closes on 30 August.  Baker McKenzie has identified a number of key issues with the draft Statement that merit consideration:

  • The draft Statement provides that acquisitions in areas of the economy which are “closely linked” to the 17 sectors that are subject to mandatory notification could be more likely to be called in than other areas of the economy. This approach in effect significantly broadens the scope of the mandatory regime and creates legal uncertainty.
  • There is less detail on how the national security risk will be assessed compared to an earlier draft of the statement. We encourage the Government to expand the description of risk factors.
  • In particular, the Government states that characteristics of the acquirer which may seek to undermine or threaten the interests of the UK, including the integrity of the UK’s democracy and the UK’s reputation or economic prosperity, will be relevant to the risk assessment. We are concerned that these are vague concepts that are much broader than national security.

Please contact us if you would like a full copy of our Consultation response. 


Samantha Mobley is a partner in the EU, Competition & Trade Practice of Baker & McKenzie’s London office and a member of the London office Management Committee. She headed Baker McKenzie’s Global Antitrust and Competition Group, a team of over 300 competition and antitrust specialists worldwide for six years. Samantha has significant experience of advising on the implications of foreign direct investment rules for cross-border transactions. She has advised a number of companies on the implication of the reduced UK national security thresholds, as well as coordinating the global foreign investment review aspects of a proposed $12 billion joint venture between a FTSE100 company and a Fortune 500 corporate. Samantha is a Who’s Who Legal 2020 Leading Individual for Foreign Investment Review.


Sunny Mann is a Partner and leads the EMEA and UK International Trade team, ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500. His practice includes a focus on national security, foreign investment, export controls and trade sanctions matters. He has worked on a number of foreign investment review cases, including obtaining clearance for a high profile acquisition triggering potential defence and national security concerns, one of the very few cases to go through a full UK statutory review. In the Legal 500, Sunny is ranked as a "Leading Practitioner".