Intervention in Tech Sector Mergers

October 17, 2017

In a proposal published on 17 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out its proposals to amend the merger system which include proposals enabling the government to intervene in mergers that raise national security concerns, even when they involve smaller businesses. Parts of the ‘advanced technology sector’ are one of the targets for these changes which dramatically reduce the qualifying turnover from £70 million to £1 million. The consultation period for comments on these proposals is just four weeks. 

The government is also consulting on longer-term proposals that ‘will allow for better scrutiny of transactions that may raise national security concerns – this could include increasing risks of espionage, sabotage, or the ability to exert inappropriate leverage’. Here the consultation period is 12 weeks. Again, it is not hard to see potential effects on the tech sector. 

The relevant green paper can be accessed here.