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European Council Approves Watered-Down Takeover Legislation

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

01 December 2003


The European Council on Thursday approved a greatly watered-down version of the proposed EU Takeover Directive, much to the disappointment of the Directive's sponsor, Internal Markets Commissioner Frits Bolkestein.

Under the terms of the amended legislation, companies will be able to opt out of article 9 of the Takeover Directive, which prohibits the use of tactics such as poison pills and multiple votes to frustrate hostile takeovers.

According to reports, the provision making article 9 optional was added as a result of pressure from member states such as Germany, which is determined to prevent foreign takeovers of key companies, including Volkswagen.

The Internal Markets Commissioner was reportedly furious at the amendment, arguing that:

"By making article 9 optional, you are emptying the proposal of its content." He added: "The Takeover Directive has fallen victim to horse-trading and unholy alliances."


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