This paper contains the European Company Law Experts' response to the report of the European Commission of 28 June 2012 on the application of the Takeover Bids Directive of 2004 and the reform initiatives announced. For evaluating these initiatives the rationale of the mandatory bid rule is relevant (exit rationale, control premium rationale and undistorted choice rationale). On this basis the paper discusses each of the concerns raised by the European Commission: 1) The concept of "acting in concert": The ECLE are of the opinion that a uniform concept for the Takeover Bids Directive, the Transparency Directive and the Acquisition Directive is not useful because of the different objectives of these Directives. As to the Takeover Directive it should be made clear that joint engagement activities of investors should not trigger a mandatory offer. 2) National derogations to the mandatory offer rule differ widely, but there are different types of derogations that pose different concerns. The ECLE recommend that the Directive should provide for a review process with respect to national derogations. 3) The ECLE believe that there are good reasons to close the loopholes against the “creep in” and the “creep on” acquisitions. 4) As to board neutrality and the break-through rule the ECLE believe that the default rules should be changed. The option rights should be given to the shareholders, not to the member states. The reciprocity rule is flawed. 5) The protection of the rights of employees should be addressed in a wider context and should not be taken up specifically for one type of transaction such as takeover bids.
Peter Böckli, Paul L. Davies, Eilis Ferran, Guido Ferrarini, José M. Garrido Garcia, Klaus J. Hopt, Alain Pietrancosta, Katharina Pistor, Rolf Skog, Stanislaw Soltysinski, Jaap W. Winter & Eddy Wymeersch,
Response to the European Commission's Report on the Application of the Takeover Bids Directive,
Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 55/2014; University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 5/2014
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2433