The Government extends the Antiopa shield until the end of the year
This measure was agreed in March 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, but at first it was only intended to control investors from outside the EU, although last November it was extended to any non-Spanish investor. In principle, it was a transitory measure, with an expiration date on June 30, but now it is extended until the end of the year, at the request of the Ministry of Industry, as explained by the Minister of Finance and Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero.
On March 17, 2020, in full confinement to stop the pandemic, the Government of Pedro Sánchez approved a shield to protect the Spanish companies belonging to strategic sectors of investors from outside the EU taking advantage of the collapse of its value on the stock market. If investors launched an offer for a listed one, authorization was required if they bought more than 10%.
At the end of that month, it also extended this restriction to acquisitions made by investors residing in countries of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association when said investors were controlled by entities resident outside that territorial scope. The threshold was set at 25%.
The Government with the measure announced this Thursday continues to go beyond the limits of the community regulation, since it also affects investors who belong to the club. The Minister Spokesperson has specified that the objective remains the same: to protect Spanish companies in strategic sectors “so that they have security and, therefore, they cannot have a purchase attempt, taking advantage of the circumstances”, explained María Jesús Montero.
Several operations are waiting to receive authorization from the Government to acquire more than 10% of strategic companies. IFM, which wants to control 22.7% of Naturgy (Gas Natural), requested authorization in February. Also awaiting the government is the venture capital fund EQT, owner of Idealista, which last week launched a bid on the renewable Solarpack. The Council of Ministers approved in its session on Tuesday the public offer to acquire MásMóvil for 100% of the Basque operator Euskaltel.
In fact, this Thursday it was known that the Australian fund IFM will shield Naturgy’s Spanishness in the bid brochure by committing to maintain the headquarters, the council and not promote sales of essential assets.