New extension to armoring at companies considered strategic. The Government will extend for two more years shielding of companies such as Telefónica, Repsol or Naturgy against possible hostile purchase offers from investors from other countries. This measure, which was agreed upon during the pandemic, was extended a few months ago until December 31.
The Executive has decided to include this measure in the package of initiatives linked to alleviating the effects of the war in Ukraine through a royal decree, as reported by ‘El País’ and official sources have confirmed. The intention is that it be approved before the end of the year. With this measure, the Government reserves authorize (or not) any foreign investment operation of more than 500 million or that represent more than 10% of the capital of the Spanish company belonging to strategic sectors.
One of the large operations that was subject to government authorization was the partial takeover bid by the Australian fund IFM on naturgy, which punctured with that initiative, but which already has 13.385% of the capital. The Government, through the third vice president and Minister of Ecological Transition, has spoken out against dividing the company in two, as its main shareholders want. That is why the new regulations will include that the veto can also be applied, not only to takeovers of more than 10%, but also to the dividing up of companies, according to ‘El Confidencial’. Through this regulation, the increase in the participation of vivendi in Rushthe publisher of ‘El País’, up to 29.9% of the capital, from the 9.7% it held.
The National Stock Market Commission (CNMV) opposed maintaining this shielding, considering that it limits the freedom of movement of capital. The measure was created initially to prevent opportunistic funds from taking advantage of the fall in the stock market prices of key companies for the national interest as a result of the pandemic, that is, from taking over significant parts of the capital or with the control at knockdown prices.