Tougher rules for taking over British companies could be introduced, after the Takeover Panel set out a plan to increase disclosure of the purchaser’s intentions post-deal.
Its consultation document calls on the offeror company to make specific statements of intention regarding the offeree’s research and development functions, staff and office locations. Both parties should also publish reports on post-offer undertakings and intention statements given during the course of the deal.
The move to improve transparency and track pledges made during a takeover process follow concerns about a number of deals involving foreign purchasers in recent history, including Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury, where it closed the Somerdale factory soon after the deal was struck, despite previously suggesting its future was safe.
The tougher rules had been pledged by the Conservatives in their 2017 election manifesto.
Business secretary Greg Clark said the panel was integral in creating a reputation for Britain of being a dependable and confident place in which to do business.
“The Takeover Panel is a respected and important part of this regime and the government welcomes the valuable changes it is proposing,” said Clark.
The panel also wants offerors to make more timely statements of intention, but an offer document should not be published for at least 14 days from the intention of the offer to enable the offeree time to prepare a response.
The consultation runs until 31 October 2017.