The UK government introduced new rules this week designed to protect Britain’s best and brightest tech from overseas acquisitions.
The British government is getting new powers to prevent takeovers and corporate deals that threaten national security, according to the proposed legislation published on Wednesday, which covers potentially sensitive sectors, such as defense and energy.
The Ministry of Business said: The draft National Security and Investment Law gives ministers greater powers to scrutinize and interfere with malicious foreign investment.
In doing so, a balance must be made between concerns that delay and uncertainty might deter desirable external investment, and long-standing concerns that some deals might jeopardize security or critical infrastructure.
Business Minister Alok Sharma said: “The hostile parties should have no doubts. There is no back door to the UK.
Earlier this year, ministers banned the Chinese company Huawei from entering parts of the UK telecom network due to concerns about espionage, and Huawei said the concerns were unfounded.
The matter drew criticism from China, but highlighted increased caution over perceived threats to national security posed by Beijing, and doubts about existing legislation that provided only a limited scope for government intervention.
The new bill requires companies to seek approval for any potential deal involving a range of sectors, such as: defense, energy, transportation, artificial intelligence and cryptography.
The new system implies a fundamental change in the UK’s approach to assessing national security, and the government has said: The vast majority of transactions will be approved without interference.
The government sought to allay concerns about creating barriers to investment by promising decisions within 30 days.
Ministers have the power to retroactively audit deals that they have not been informed of for up to five years, although deals made before Wednesday’s announcement will be exempt.
The ministers said: The laws explicitly state that national security is the only basis for intervention, companies that do not comply can be fined, and executives may be imprisoned.
Some suggest the new rules are too late, given that two of Britain’s most innovative companies have been sold.
The Arm chip design company was sold to the Japanese technology giant Softbank in 2016 for $ 31.6 billion, and the AI lab DeepMind was sold to Google in 2014 for only $ 527 million.