March 8, 2021
The consultation ran from 11 November 2020 to 6 January 2021. It is part of the Government’s reform of its powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions to protect national security.
The Government consulted on which sectors, and which parts of each sector, should be included within scope of the “mandatory regime” set out in the Bill. This will require acquirers making investments in those sectors to notify and receive approval from the Government before completing certain types of transactions.
The consultation set out the 17 sectors which are most likely to give rise to national security risks. Those included:
- Advanced Materials
- Advanced Robotics
- Artificial Intelligence
- Civil Nuclear
- Computing Hardware
- Critical Suppliers to Government
- Critical Suppliers to the Emergency Services
- Cryptographic Authentication
- Data Infrastructure
- Military and Dual-Use
- Quantum Technologies
- Satellite and Space Technologies
- Synthetic Biology (formerly known as Engineering Biology. This sector has been renamed in response to the consultation responses)
The Government received 94 written responses to the consultation from:
- legal and advisory firms
- government bodies
- research bodies
- trade associations
- industry groups
- individual businesses
The responses have been used to refine the definitions to provide further clarity to allow parties to self-assess whether they need to notify the Secretary of State when they are contemplating a relevant acquisition of control. The aim is to ensure that parties involved in deals that are not captured by the regime, which will be the majority of transactions, have the clarity they need to proceed. For example, the revised definition of satellite and space technologies sets out that deals including, among others, companies involved in the provision of inter-satellite communications links, would come under scope of the Bill.
The sector definitions within the Government response document remain in draft so proposals during the remaining passage of the primary legislation can be taken into account. The final definitions will be set out in Regulations in due course. To access the Government’s response, click here. To read the Government’s press release on the Bill, click here.