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Germany to block foreign takeovers, protect domestic companies – top politicians

Germany to block foreign takeovers, protect domestic companies – top politicians

Germany will protect domestic firms from foreign takeovers, two leading politicians said on Friday, after company valuations in Europe’s largest economy have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. Ministers have already promised liquidity support to businesses, and introduced measures making it easier to reduce working hours rather than lay off workers.

Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, which comprises the country’s 30 largest listed corporations, has plunged by more than a third over the past month. This has increased the risk of foreign companies snapping up rivals at a discount.

“We will avoid a sell-out of German economic and industrial concerns. There cannot be any taboos. Temporary and limited state support as well as participation and takeovers need to be possible,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.

Markus Soeder, state premier of Bavaria, where heavyweights such as Siemens and BMW are based, said all legal options should be explored to block potential bids for German companies, Reuters reported. “If most of Bavaria’s and Germany’s economy ends up in foreign hands once this crisis is over… then it’s not only a health crisis but a profound alteration of the global economic order.”