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EU To Curb Foreign State-backed Acquisitions

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The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday opened a public consultation to help prepare legislation intended to tighten its regulatory mechanisms that prevent foreign state-backed rivals from taking over European businesses.

The EC will accept stakeholders’ submissions on its White Paper on Foreign Subsidies until 23 September, it said in a statement.

Under one set of proposals, the EC will identify gaps in regulations which may allow foreign states to finance acquisitions of ownership or stakes in European companies by non-EU rivals.

Businesses backed by non-EU states will need to notify the EU competition regulator when they acquire an interest in any local company above a given threshold. The EC could either demand concessions or block a potential transaction outright.

The measures seek to prevent third-party states from conferring “an unfair benefit” on commercial entities in potential deals by providing funding for acquisitions or linking the deals to future subsidies.

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