The U.K.’s merger regulator is considering changes in takeover rules on shareholder votes, fees and disclosure after comments by former Business Secretary Peter Mandelson about Kraft Foods’ takeover of Cadbury prompted a review.
The takeover panel is considering whether the minimum acceptance for approval of a takeover offer should be raised, and whether acquiring companies should have to provide more information on the financing of takeover bids, the regulator said in a statement Tuesday.
Kraft agreed in January to buy Cadbury for about £11.7 billion ($17 billion) in a deal that created the world’s largest confectioner. Mr. Mandelson said at the time that companies making takeover bids should reveal their work force plans and focus on long-term interests rather than short-term gain.
The review “is not about economic nationalism,” Vince Cable, business secretary in the new coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, said in an e-mailed statement. “We welcome foreign investors, but we want all shareholders to be empowered.”
The panel said in February it would review the rules in light of Mr. Mandelson’s commentary.
The regulator said it’s considering whether investors’ rights to vote on a deal should be withheld for shares acquired during an offer period. It’s also looking at its “put-up-or-shut-up” rule that requires prospective buyers to make a firm offer in 28 days for a company it wants to acquire or walk away from a possible deal for six months.
Last week, the panel criticized Kraft for misstating plans to keep a plant open in England as part of the Cadbury acquisition.