To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a public interest test with regards to corporate takeovers; and for what reasons provision for such a test was not included in the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill.
The power to propose changes to the public interest regime is set out under the Enterprise Act 2002, and would involve the Secretary of State bringing forward secondary legislation. While we keep this issue under review, we are not currently planning to bring forward changes to the regime.
We do, however, welcome the consultation launched by the Takeover Panel in September 2014. This consultation proposed changes to the Takeover Code to allow companies to make more binding, long-term commitments during the bid process. These proposed changes would distinguish between a voluntary commitment made by a company about actions they commit to take, and statements about actions they intend to take. They would also enhance the Panel’s ability to monitor on-going compliance. I understand that the Takeover Panel is reviewing responses to its consultation and will be responding in the New Year.