UK Takeover Panel announce consultation

The Takeover Panel has initiated a consultation on the Takeover Code. The Panel indicated that the decision to undertake the consultation was made in the light of recent commentary and public discussion, and suggestions for consideration from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and others.

The consultation will focus on whether certain Code provisions and the timetable for determining the outcome of offers could usefully be improved. A public consultation paper is expected to be published shortly.

The former Chairman of Cadbury, Roger Carr, was among those to call for changes following the recent takeover by Kraft of Cadbury. He suggested that the instigators of unsolicited bids should pay for the defence costs and criticised the fact that the 60-day timetable did not start ticking until early December, when shareholders received details of the offer, rather than the public announcement of the bid approach in September. Carr also suggested that the acceptance threshold of 50% plus one share should be raised to 60%, and that anyone who bought shares in a company during an offer period should have their voting rights frozen until the battle had ended.

Further Reading

Financial Times,12 Jan 2010 – Mandelson calls City takeover summit

Financial Times, 13 Feb 2010 – Britain needs investors for the long term

The Guardian, 9 Feb 2010 – Defend UK firms from foreign takeovers, says former Cadbury boss

Takeover Panel announcement

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