3 Sep 2012

Law firm welcomes company acquisition changes

7:00 am on 3 September 2012

Law firm Chapman Tripp is welcoming recommendations from the Government's Takeovers Panel which aim to tidy up the way companies are acquired.

Chapman Tripp says the proposed amendments should encourage bidding parties to be more transparent in their disclosures to target companies and investors.

A senior associate specialising in mergers and acquisitions, Joshua Pringle, says one of the key proposals involves greater requirements on bidding companies to make their intentions clear.

He says it won't be a panacea because bidders may still not be clear about their intentions on the basis they will not have access to all the information concerning the company.

Mr Pringle says it indicates the panel is concerned about the issue and bidders should be more careful about the disclosures they make.

But he says the requirement could be difficult to fulfil for bidding parties that have no firm plans.

"Particularly if you haven't got due diligence access to a company, say because it's a hostile transaction, you may have various intentions that you think you have but ... once you're into the company's books and can observe its operations your thoughts may change."

Mr Pringle said another key proposal would extend offers to investors by two weeks in the event minimum acceptance conditions were met or waived in the final week of an offer period.

The Takeovers Panel and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment will undertake consultation on the recommendations.