Merger rules are toughened

The takeover Panel has adopted tougher merger rules, tipping the balance of power back towards acquisition targets.

The panel yesterday published its final rules – to take effect in September – after a year-long consultation prompted by the outcry over Kraft's purchase of Cadbury.

Hostile bids will become more difficult and "put up or shut up" deadlines will be shortened to four weeks. Break fees will be banned.