In July 2020 a new foreign direct investment (FDI) screening act, the Investment Control Act (ICA), entered into force. The ICA, which largely transposes the requirements of the EU Foreign Investment Screening Regulation, is in line with the general EU trend of tightening or enacting FDI screening instruments, which has been fuelled by concerns of buy-outs of critical European infrastructure by foreign investors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In times like these, parties should consider the key parameters of a contemplated transaction even more carefully. In addition to factors such as pricing, process timelines and contractual undertakings, parties must properly consider the COVID-19 pandemic's potential economic effects on targets when structuring a deal. This article outlines the differences between the two main purchase price mechanisms that can help to alleviate such economic effects and the pros and cons of each.
For the first time, the Supreme Court has upheld a security right granted under German law, even though the asset had been transferred to Austria. Previously, such rights were terminated once the asset was moved from Germany to Austria. The decision will substantially facilitate the financing of companies with cross-border business.
The Constitutional Court recently ruled on whether the Squeeze-Out Act is compatible with the Constitution. The plaintiff argued that certain provisions of the Squeeze-Out Act violate the Constitution because they restrict shareholders' property rights and the principle of equality (rights enshrined in both the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights). However, the Constitutional Court held that this was not the case.
Companies regularly store information about their customers, clients, employees, investors, partners and vendors. Privacy and data security are therefore important aspects of most M&A transactions. Although the risk of non-compliance with privacy laws may result in severe negative consequences, many M&A agreements still lack adequate privacy-related representations and warranties.
The Court of Appeal recently reiterated the importance of following the natural and ordinary meaning of a fund's articles in order to ensure that redemptions are effective. This is particularly important in the context of a master-feeder fund structure. Although the decision is consistent with longstanding authority, it does highlight the importance of ensuring that the redemption procedures set out in a master fund's articles are strictly adhered to as a matter of practice.
In a decision that provides additional certainty to dissenting shareholders, the Grand Court has rejected a company's efforts to recast the procedural framework for appraisal proceedings brought under Section 238 of the Companies Law (as revised). This decision follows the significant 2019 ruling of Chief Justice Smellie in JA Solar, which has become the touchstone for directions orders in Section 238 proceedings.
The government recently approved the Private Funds Bill 2020 and an amendment to the Mutual Funds Law (2020 Revision). The legislation is the result of certain EU and other international recommendations and has been developed to align the Cayman Islands investment fund regulatory regime with those of other jurisdictions. This article summarises the key features of both pieces of legislation.
There has been a noticeable rise in foreign investments in Cyprus, with an upswing in mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. This has been the result of various reforms and legislative amendments that have added legal certainty and contributed to the creation of a coherent statutory framework. International investors might well consider these factors when assessing Cyprus as an investment hub for future transactions in the M&A market post-Brexit.
Cyprus boasts an attractive merger and reorganisation regime not only locally (ie, between Cyprus entities), but also at an EU level. Besides the well-known advantages of merging two companies (eg, the transfer of assets and liabilities without the need for the novation of contracts or other cumbersome procedures), mergers and reorganisations in Cyprus are also attractive from a tax perspective, as those which fall within the scope of the law may result in a total tax exemption in Cyprus.
In April 2020 the Financial Markets Regulator (AMF) heavily penalised a hedge fund for omitting to disclose its objectives regarding a takeover bid after it had purchased large amounts of equity swaps in shares of the company subject to the takeover. This decision confirms that the mere fact that equity swaps can give the equity swap holder access to shares of a company that is the subject of a takeover bid is enough for them to fall within the scope of the takeover bid legislation.
Closing is the ultimate stage in an M&A transaction where all parties meet to seal – and celebrate – their agreement; however, it can be a traumatic process due to the time spent in meeting rooms signing and initialising contracts. Lawyers and clients have long hoped for change in this regard. During the COVID-19 lockdown, signs of a change emerged in the form of electronic signatures, as contracts could not be signed in person and scheduled closings were either dematerialised or delayed.
In the context of the worldwide economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU authorities issued guidelines to reinforce the protection of strategic sectors and vulnerable companies from foreign investment. However, the measures taken by France are not as far reaching as in other EU countries, as the French authorities chose to extend the measures to biotechnologies and take precautionary temporary measures with respect to listed companies.
Following the introduction of EU Regulation 2019/452 and the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation law, a new decree and ministerial order were published and will enter into effect on 1 April 2020. This new set of regulations takes into account the complexity of the existing structures of investment in private M&A transactions and allows a better understanding of the context of a contemplated transaction by the French administration.
A recent Supreme Court decision validates the substitution mechanisms in the context of M&A transactions. The mechanism is particularly helpful in M&A transactions where a sponsor signs the initial agreements and, once a structure has been agreed, substitutes a special purpose vehicle to carry out the transaction. However, M&A practitioners should remain vigilant when drafting substitution clauses to ensure that they clearly state the parties' intentions as to the full release (or not) of the original party.
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, every industry must take stock and evaluate the changes that are here to stay and the adaptations required to suit the new environment. This article examines the developments in and resilience of Guernsey's funds industry. Notably, it is clear that the government continues to support the funds industry and recognises the importance that private equity and sustainable finance play in the longevity of Guernsey as a financial centre.
Guernsey entities continue to be popular in asset-holding structures and, accordingly, lenders are regularly asked to put in place financing arrangements involving Guernsey entities. This article provides an overview of the mechanism under Guernsey law for the creation and enforcement of security over certain Guernsey-situated assets, such as the shares in a Guernsey company, certain contract rights and monies in a Guernsey bank account.
This article provides a practical comparison between two of Guernsey's most flexible regulated fund products: the registered collective investment scheme (registered schemes) and the private investment fund (PIFs). Both registered schemes and PIFs are used across all fund types and asset bases – from private equity funds investing in sustainable energy to hedge funds investing in smart technology.
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission recently announced the launch of a new fast-track application regime for managers of overseas collective investment schemes. The intention is to make the process as simple as possible for such managers looking to apply for a Guernsey licence. The regime is available for managers migrating to Guernsey, as well as managers looking to establish a new Guernsey entity.