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Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 11 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to alter his policy regarding hostile takeovers; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 5 July 1990]: No. The 1988 blue paper policy made clear our belief that the possibility of takeover acts as an important discipline on incumbent managements to demonstrate to their shareholders that they are running their companies as efficiently as possible. I have no plans to amend our policy in respect of hostile takeover bids (which form only a small proportion of the total merger activity in the United Kingdom). It is in general up to the shareholders whether to accept or reject a bid. The main grounds for deciding whether to refer a bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will continue to be its likely effect on competition.