Business / Policy Watch

Chinese deals lead list of acquisitions reviewed by US

By Paul Welitzkin in New York (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-24 04:26

For the third year in a row, Chinese planned acquisitions of US companies constituted the largest number of those reviewed by a US panel for national security implications.

In its annual report to Congress filed on Friday, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States said it reviewed 147 purchases of US businesses by foreign interests in 2014. Deals involving investors from China, totaling 24, topped those from any other nation. Second was the UK with 21, while Canada was third with 15.

"The US is a prime destination for foreign investment," Chris Griner, an attorney with the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in Washington, said on Monday. "With the deals that were announced in 2015, I don't think China will be surpassed anytime soon."

The foreign investment committee, made up of representatives from several federal agencies, including the Treasury, Defense, State and Homeland Security departments, reviews foreign acquisitions, mergers and takeovers of US businesses that might raise national security concerns.

The committee's deliberations are confidential, and except for its annual report to Congress, it does not comment on its work.

The Chinese cases mainly concerned manufacturing, including that of computers and electronics, said Anne Salladin of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, which specializes in assisting multinational corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms.

Transactions requiring mitigation measures after investigation by the committee declined to 6 percent of cases, from 11 percent in 2013. The types of transactions requiring mitigation focused on deals involving US companies in the software, services and technology sectors.

The law firm of White & Case said this focus is consistent with its experience with the foreign investment committee. It said the panel has generally considered cases involving cybersecurity and technology transactions to be sensitive.

The report indicated no change in the types of mitigation measures imposed by the committee.

It said 12 of the 147 filings were withdrawn in 2014, noting that one withdrawn transaction was refiled in 2015.

Parties can abandon a transaction for many reasons, including resistance to proposed mitigation measures, the fear of a recommendation that a transaction should be blocked, or not proceeding due to business considerations.

White & Case said that "Chinese investors may find encouragement, since despite an increase in transactions and Chinese investments reviewed, the number and percentage of deals requiring CFIUS-based mitigation declined".

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks