Germany Plans to Extend Tighter Takeover Controls to Health Care
The German government plans to extend its protection against foreign takeovers to the health care industry after the coronavirus outbreak made companies more vulnerable.
Angela Merkel’s cabinet aims to lower the threshold for scrutinizing investments in the sector from outside the European Union, the Economy Ministry said Tuesday. The measure would mean that all health care deals involving a stake of at least 10% would be examined, compared with 25% at the moment. The legislation is likely to be widened to encompass companies involved with critical infrastructure projects and processors of raw materials, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
As the pandemic batters the global economy, Germany has sharpened its focus on companies critical to national interests that could fall prey to foreign takeovers. The European Commission has also issued guidelines on enacting bloc-wide rules meant to prevent investment from threatening national security.
“We need to be informed of critical foreign deals in the health-care industry in a timely fashion and be in a position to scrutinize them,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.
The measures announced Tuesday are expected to be discussed by the cabinet in mid-May before going through parliament. Earlier this month, the government agreed to widen its scope for blocking acquisitions by making “political interference” a potential hurdle. That introduced a lower threshold than existing rules envisaging a security threat.
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