Wednesday 4 August 2021 11:36 am

Take ‘golden share’ in British defence firms to block foreign takeovers, urge MPs

MPs on the influential defence select committee have urged the government to acquire “golden shares” in firms integral to upholding UK national security.

The move would enable the UK government to prevent British businesses critical to maintaining national security from falling into the hands of foreign purchasers, committee members said.

Read more: Meggitt shares keep flying high after Parker’s £6bn bid to buy

The calls have been triggered by mounting concerns over the £6.3bn takeover of British defence company Meggitt by US rival Parker Hannifin.

A golden share is a nominal share which is able to outvote all other shares in certain specified circumstances, meaning the government could block proposals it thinks would damage Britain’s national security.

Tobias Ellwood MP, chair of the committee, said: “If we are going to utilise the golden share mechanism, there is a strong argument it should be expanded to other important companies that make critical contributions to UK security.”

The government said yesterday that it is closely monitoring the proposed takeover of Meggitt, suggesting the acquisition could be scrapped on national security grounds.

Read more: Aviation woes keep Meggitt pinned down in first quarter

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