Panel attacks Brussels bid plans

The Takeover Panel yesterday launched its latest salvo to prevent Brussels interfering in domestic bids and deals by issuing a vehement attack on a proposed EU directive that would replace Britain's current non-statutory system of takeover regulation. The directive would also create a new, strictly legal framework for mergers and acquisitions.

The Panel's offensive against the directive, which replaces a previous failed attempt to harmonise European takeover rules five years ago, coincides with the completion of consultation periods at both the Department of Trade and Industry and the House of Lords European sub-committee. Unless the directive is blocked it is scheduled for implementation in April 1998.

Noel Hinton, deputy director general of the Takeover Panel, said the proposed directive, put forward by the European Commission in February, was a recipe for tactical litigation in takeover bids and called for the continuation of a non-legal system that had, he claimed, served British shareholders well since the City Code on Takeovers was introduced 28 years ago.

He added: "We have a tried and tested system of regulating the conduct of takeover bids which works very well, in large measure because it is non-statutory, whose well-being and continued functioning would be jeopardised by the consequences of adopting this directive."

The Panel believes that because takeovers are fast-moving and complex, and throw up a wide variety of unique circumstances, a rigid set of legal requirements would be inappropriate and lead to costly and disruptive litigation which would ultimately discourage takeovers.

The Panel also believes that, with the vast majority of European bids carried out in the UK, a British regulatory authority is better placed to provide efficient supervision.

As well as throwing the current flexible system of regulation into jeopardy, the Panel also believes a proposed right to compensation, in the case of a breach of takeover rules, is inappropriate: "What is necessary is the ability to act quickly to remedy a potential breach rather than seek to recompense a person after the event, when it might well be too late."

The latest European Commission proposal replaces an earlier version, which was put forward in 1989 and formed part of a programme of measures featured in the 1985 White Paper on the completion of the Internal Market.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games