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Italy rolls out rules to safeguard against foreign takeovers

Italian policymakers rolled out a new decree Oct. 13, requiring all minority investors, with a shareholding of at least 10% of the total capital, in Italian-listed companies to disclose their intentions regarding final ownership, Reuters reported.

The new law is a safety measure against hostile foreign takeovers, and follows a call by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to limit China's ability to buy up European companies in infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing and energy. And it comes as French media company Vivendi faces scrutiny in the country for building its holding in Telecom Italia and Mediaset.

Parliament must approve the decree within 60 days, the newswire noted. It is effective immediately but prospectively, hence is not applicable to Vivendi.

The decree also included an amendment which extends the government's veto power on takeovers by non-EU companies to high-technology sectors.

"Italy is a country that is open to international investments but it demands that investors respect the rules and we safeguard our national interests like all the world's large economies," Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said after the cabinet meeting, according to Reuters.

French laws also set a 10% threshold for compulsory disclosure of interest in public listed companies.