Takeover extensions drop under new rules

Elizabeth Fournier
THE NUMBER of deadline extensions granted by the Takeover Panel has almost halved since the launch of new UK takeover rules last September, according to a six-month review of how the reforms are affecting deals.

Research by City law firm Linklaters shows that since the traditional put-up-or-shut-up deadline – the time in which a potential bidder must clarify its intentions – was set at 28 days, just 42 per cent of limits have been extended, compared to 80 per cent before the reforms. Of these, 41 per cent were re-extended, some up to five times.

The figures show that though target firms are willing to agree an extension once negotiations have started, the change is having the intended effect of protecting companies from unsolicited bids, as no hostile approaches have had deadlines postponed.

Though M&A activity has been patchy since the Takeover Code was beefed up, 37 firm offers have been announced since September.