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Cable set to tighten up foreign acquisitions

A radical shake-up of Britain's takeover laws has been signalled by the Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable.

Mr Cable told reporters that he was examining the issue and the "Cadbury's Law" argument – which has been live issue ever since Kraft's £10.8bn hostile takeover of the British chocolate-maker last year demonstrated the comparative ease with which national industrial assets could be acquired by foreign interests.

Mr Cable said: "There does remain a problem that as far as we can see from the objective evidence takeovers tend to reduce value, not increase it. We are going to have to look; I want to take what the Takeover Panel has done – and it is positive – and probably go rather further. On remuneration, there is an issue that certainly over the last decade executive pay has far outstripped shareholder performance.

"It is a tricky issue whether we legislate to give shareholders more voting power. I don't want to rush in to some crass change that has unintended consequences."