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German cabinet tightens rules to fend off foreign takeovers

German cabinet tightens rules to fend off foreign takeovers
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo   -   Copyright  Luisa Gonzalez(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has lowered the threshold for launching security probes of stake purchases by non-European entities to protect critical infrastructure, a government official said on Wednesday, in a push to fend off unwanted takeovers by Chinese investors.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed to lower the shareholding threshold at which Berlin can intervene in certain sectors on grounds of public safety concerns to 10 percent from 25 percent previously.

The move is a response to mounting concern that China’s state-backed companies are gaining too much access to key technologies in Germany and other European countries while Beijing is shielding its own companies from foreign takeovers.

(Reporting by Thorsten Severin and Holger Hansen; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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