United Kingdom

United Kingdom

National Security and Investment Bill receives Royal Assent

29 Apr 2021

On 29 April 2021, the National Security and Investment Bill received Royal Assent and became law in the United Kingdom. It will enter into force upon a date decided by the Government. The main purpose of the Act is to introduce a stand-alone screening regime separate from the merger control that addresses acquisitions of British companies and assets by both domestic and foreign investors. The screening procedure would focus on evaluating risks to national security associated with such acquisitions.

The law introduces a mandatory notification requirement to the Secretary of State for investors prior to gaining control over a company or an asset. The control is defined as an ownership of 25%, 50% or 75% of shares or voting rights as well as a right to materially influence the policy of a company or to secure or prevent adoption of resolutions. A notification will be mandatory in sectors specified in implementing regulations. During the consultations, 17 sectors were singled out: Advanced Materials, Advanced Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Civil Nuclear, Communications, Computing Hardware, Critical Suppliers to Government, Critical Suppliers to the Emergency Services, Cryptographic Authentication, Data Infrastructure, Defence, Energy, Military and Dual-Use, Quantum Technologies, Satellite and Space Technologies, Synthetic Biology, and Transport.

Finally, the new law provides civil and criminal sanctions for avoiding notification requirements. Transactions completed without a mandatory notification will be void.

  • Type:
    • Entry and establishment (Approval and admission)
    • Entry and establishment (Approval and admission)
  • Industry:
    • Manufacturing (Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations, Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products, and electrical equipment, Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.)
    • Services (Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, Transportation and storage, Telecommunications, Computer programming, consultancy and related activities, Scientific research and development, Other professional, scientific and technical activities, Public administration and defence; compulsory social security, Other service activities)
  • Sources: