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Foreign investment regimes

In recent years there has been a marked change in attitude towards foreign investment screening. A range of jurisdictions globally have taken steps to strengthen their ability to review and actively intervene in transactions. Most recently, the EU published proposed legislation for an EU-wide regime – a significant move away from its historically more relaxed approach to foreign investment.

A guide to the current and proposed foreign investment regimes in the UK, Germany, EU, US and China

In this comparative guide, we examine 15 key parameters of the current and proposed foreign investment regimes in the UK, Germany, EU, US and China. While there are differences in scope and application across these regimes, it is clear that there are a number of striking commonalities that indicate an increasingly protectionist and restrictive environment or foreign investment, including:

– capturing a very broad range of transactions – it is not just traditional M&A which is caught but a range of minority and other investments

– no (or minimal) financial thresholds apply – foreign investment screening covers deals of all sizes

– not just an issue for the defence sector – a wide range of sectors are targeted

– governments are provided with substantial powers to block or amend transactions

– not just talk – governments are actively using their powers and are intervening in transactions of all sizes

This suggests that, looking ahead, foreign investment screening is not only set to remain a common feature of deal-making, but is likely to expand significantly to cover an ever-increasing range of transactions of all sizes and across a range of sectors. This guide provides companies and investors with an insight into: (i) which types of transaction could be subject to foreign investment screening; (ii) the impact that such processes can have and how long such reviews might take; (iii) what powers governments have to intervene; (iv) the sanctions which can be imposed for non-compliance; and (v) what rights of appeal, if any, exist.

Contact our Competition, EU and Trade team

If you would like any further information or need advice on competition, EU or trade law matters, please contact our legal team.