EU helps protect weak firms from foreign takeovers

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The EU plans to help block foreign takeovers of European companies struggling with the virus downturn.

It wants to allow governments to invest in weak companies, which could include some form of ownership.

While it called them “measures of last resort”, the European Commission says it is consulting member states.

A focus for the regulator is to counter unfair competition from state-owned firms, which are the backbone of economies such as China’s.

It is now looking at further protection for businesses based in the EU, in light of the significant financial impact coronavirus lockdowns are having on them.

“This in principle falls outside the scope of EU state aid control and can in particular be important for interventions by member states to prevent hostile takeovers of strategic companies by foreign purchasers,” a spokesman for the European Commission said.