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.