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M&A code fears quashed

The overhaul of the Takeover Code, which was introduced in September, has not led to rushed acquisitions as was initially feared.

The changes, introduced in the wake of the much-criticised takeover of Cadbury by the US confectioner Kraft last year, included giving predator companies just 28 days to make an offer after the first announcement that they were negotiating with a target.

This led to fears that deals would be rushed and would go through with poor due diligence. However, the target company could ask for the so-called "put up or shut up" (PUSU) deadline to be extended.

Since the overhaul, there have been 14 PUSU deadlines, of which 11 have been delayed, including Reuben Brothers' tilt at Arena Leisure and AmWINS for THB.

Nick Rumsby, a partner at Linklaters, said: "This shows that initial concerns about the four-week deadline not being sufficiently flexible have been addressed by the attitudes of the target boards."