Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Labour and takeover policy in 2010

OK, here's what we said in the 2010 manifesto:
We now propose to extend the public interest test so that it is applied to potential takeovers
of infrastructure and utility companies. (1:7)

Too many takeovers turn out to be neither good for the acquiring company or the firm being bought. The system needsreform. Companies should be more transparent about their long-term plans for the business they want to acquire. There needs to be more disclosure of who owns shares, a requirement for bidders to set out how they will finance their bids and greater transparency on advisers’ fees.

There should be a higher threshold of support – twothirds of shareholders – for securing a change of ownership and the case for limiting votes to those on the register before the bid should be examined. (1:9)
In contrast here's what the Cox Review said:
The law on takeovers should be changed, such that all shareholders who appear on the Register during the Offer Period (as defined by the Takeover Code) have no voting rights until the outcome of the bid has been concluded. (p 39)
And as a reminder Lord Sainsbury has suggested a higher threshold should be required for deals to be voted through, and for a qualifying period (ie a requirement to have held the shares for a few years) to be introduced for shareholders in the target company to be able to vote on the deal. 

So our 2010 position covers more ground than either of the subsequent suggestions.

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