Prime Minister Theresa May’s long-awaited foreign takeover plans could be unveiled as soon as next week in the Conservative Party’s manifesto.
Under the plans, foreign takeovers of more than 25 per cent of businesses considered to be critical national infrastructure would be subject to scrutiny.
As City A.M. reported in March, the 25 per cent mark was arrived at after a debate between the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Treasury. Sources said that BEIS secretary Greg Clark originally advocated 15 per cent but this low level was pushed back on by chancellor Philip Hammond.
The government announced plans to “impose significant new safeguards for future foreign investment in critical infrastructure” in September last year.
This came after May and Hammond began their time in Downing Street, last July, by talking about imposing “national interest” tests for foreign takeovers of UK companies.
However, despite May previously picking out US giant Pfizer’s near-takeover of UK firm AstraZeneca as an example of a deal that should be avoided, the proposals are unlikely to cover pharmaceutical companies.
Dealmakers and the City of London have been seeking clarity on the government’s approach to foreign takeovers for many months.
City sources said the deadline appears to have been pushed back several times and that they are now expecting more clarity on the plans in the Tory manifesto, due to be published next week.
A Conservative spokesman declined to comment on whether the takeover rules would be included in the party’s manifesto, which is expected to be published next week.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives today confirmed widely-expected plans for a new cap on energy prices. The proposals, which look set to upset energy firms such as Centrica, are likely to be included in the Tory manifesto.