European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker today confirmed his plans for a new framework to “screen” foreign takeovers of EU companies.
The commission is expected to set out more details on the foreign deal crackdown in Brussels tomorrow. Chinese takeover activity in particular has caused a stir in Europe, with China-to-EU mergers and acquisitions (M&A) reaching record levels last year.
“Europe must always defend its strategic interests,” Juncker said in his State of the Union speech this morning.
“This is why today we are proposing a new EU framework for investment screening.
“If a foreign, state-owned, company wants to purchase a European harbor, part of our energy infrastructure or a defence technology firm, this should only happen in transparency, with scrutiny and debate.
“It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so that we can protect our collective security if needed.”
Figures from Thomson Reuters released September 13 show foreign takeovers within the European Union have declined for the third year in a row in 2017.
Inbound M&A has totalled US$164 billion so far this year, down four per cent compared with this time last year. The UK, whose government is also considering plans for a crackdown on foreign takeovers, has been the most attractive EU destination for foreign investment, accounting for US$65 billion, or 40% of the total.