Boris Johnson’s government has unveiled the largest shake-up of the mergers and acquisitions regime for almost 20 years. In itself, this week’s move wasn’t a surprise, dealmakers had been warned that change was coming, but the extent of the overhaul was eyebrow-raising.
Indeed, according to Nicole Kar, head of UK competition at Linklaters, the law firm: “It’s a sea-change in the way that this country has approached foreign investment screening.” And some onlookers are distinctly wary about what they see.
It was no secret that ministers wanted to make it easier to stop sensitive assets from falling into foreign hands. “This was always coming,” a senior City investment banker said. The direction of travel was set by Theresa May, Mr Johnson’s predecessor, when in 2018