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Germany seeks greater government authority over foreign acquisitions

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Germany seeks greater government authority over foreign acquisitions

Germany is preparing legislation that would bolster the government's power to review and possibly reject investments and acquisitions made by foreign companies by lowering the threshold for subjecting deals to scrutiny, media outlets reported.

A draft law first reported by German newspaper Die Welt would allow the Economy Ministry to intervene if an investor outside the EU acquires a 15% shareholding in a German company, down from the current threshold of 25%.

The proposed change would mainly affect companies involved in defense, infrastructure, and security-related technology, German public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said lowering the threshold was needed to strengthen government review of deals in "sensitive" economic sectors and improve businesses' protection.

"Of course we want companies to continue investing in Germany," Altmaier told Die Welt. "But there's also our responsibility to protect security interests, public order and public safety."

Earlier this month, the German government vetoed a Chinese investor's bid to take over engineering company Leifeld Metal Spinning AG.