General corporate matters: EU takeover rules: UK aims to dilute directive

United Kingdom

As the Austrian Presidency prepares to deliver a draft directive to the Council the UK government is making a last ditch attempt to dilute plans on takeovers. The Presidency is keen to present the draft directive by November in order to reach agreement by the end of the year. They perceive the proposals on takeovers to be central to their company law agenda. The UK government wants to continue its non-statutory system on takeovers despite a directive from Brussels, in particular preventing any directive increasing the legal rights of parties involved in takeover bids. The UK Takeover Panel has previously voiced its opposition to the proposed directive on the basis that takeovers will be slowed down by legal arguments, thus eroding the speed and efficiency of the current voluntary code.