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Nationalist sentiment behind new Dutch protectionist merger laws

Legal publications have all reported this week that the Netherlands is hoping to enact a law which will prevent takeovers of essential services such as telecoms networks, by overseas parties under some conditions. It seems to us that this is a consumer driven backlash for the excesses of the European Commission, allowing deals in the Netherlands which should have been blocked to sustain competition. If the law goes ahead the Government could block mergers if the acquirer has any criminal convictions, but more importantly if the precise ownership is unclear or there are any issues around the transparency of its reporting. It’s tough to see how this law may be interpreted, in the case for instance of a company which…

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