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Companies Act 1989

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

149Temporary restrictions on share dealings

(1)In section 75 of the [1973 c. 41.] Fair Trading Act 1973 (reference in anticipation of merger), after subsection (4) there is inserted—

(4A)Where a merger reference is made under this section, it shall be unlawful, except with the consent of the Secretary of State under subsection (4C) of this section—

(a)for any person carrying on any enterprise to which the reference relates or having control of any such enterprise or for any subsidiary of his, or

(b)for any person associated with him or for any subsidiary of such a person,

directly or indirectly to acquire, at any time during the period mentioned in subsection (4B) of this section, an interest in shares in a company if any enterprise to which the reference relates is carried on by or under the control of that company.

(4B)The period referred to in subsection (4A) of this section is the period beginning with the announcement by the Secretary of State of the making of the merger reference concerned and ending—

(a)where the reference is laid aside at any time, at that time,

(b)where the time (including any further period) allowed to the Commission for making a report on the reference expires without their having made such a report, on the expiration of that time,

(c)where a report of the Commission on the reference not including such conclusions as are referred to in section 73(1)(b) of this Act is laid before Parliament, at the end of the day on which the report is so laid,

(d)where a report of the Commission on the reference including such conclusions is laid before Parliament, at the end of the period of forty days beginning with the day on which the report is so laid,

and where such a report is laid before each House on different days, it is to be treated for the purposes of this subsection as laid on the earlier day.

(4C)The consent of the Secretary of State—

(a)may be either general or special,

(b)may be revoked by the Secretary of State, and

(c)shall be published in such way as, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, to give any person entitled to the benefit of it an adequate opportunity of getting to know of it, unless in the Secretary of State’s opinion publication is not necessary for that purpose.

(4D)Section 93 of this Act applies to any contravention or apprehended contravention of subsection (4A) of this section as it applies to a contravention or apprehended contravention of an order to which section 90 of this Act applies.

(4E)Subsections (4F) to (4K) of this section apply for the interpretation of subsection (4A).

(4F)The circumstances in which a person acquires an interest in shares include those where—

(a)he enters into a contract to acquire the shares (whether or not for cash),

(b)not being the registered holder, he acquires a right to exercise, or to control the exercise of, any right conferred by the holding of the shares, or

(c)he acquires a right to call for delivery of the shares to himself or to his order or to acquire an interest in the shares or assumes an obligation to acquire such an interest,

but does not include those where he acquires an interest in pursuance of an obligation assumed before the announcement by the Secretary of State of the making of the merger reference concerned.

(4G)The circumstances in which a person acquires a right mentioned in subsection (4F) of this section—

(a)include those where he acquires a right or assumes an obligation the exercise or fulfilment of which would give him that right, but

(b)does not include those where he is appointed as proxy to vote at a specified meeting of a company or of any class of its members or at any adjournment of the meeting or he is appointed by a corporation to act as its representative at any meeting of the company or of any class of its members,

and references to rights and obligations in this subsection and subsection (4F) of this section include conditional rights and conditional obligations.

(4H)Any reference to a person carrying on or having control of any enterprise includes a group of persons carrying on or having control of an enterprise and any member of such a group.

(4J)Sections 65(2) to (4) and 77(1) and (4) to (6) of this Act apply to determine whether any person or group of persons has control of any enterprise and whether persons are associated as they apply for the purposes of section 65 of this Act to determine whether enterprises are brought under common control.

(4K)“Subsidiary” has the meaning given by section 736 of the [1985 c. 6.] Companies Act 1985, but that section and section 736A of that Act also apply to determine whether a company is a subsidiary of an individual or of a group of persons as they apply to determine whether it is a subsidiary of a company and references to a subsidiary in subsections (8) and (9) of section 736A as so applied are to be read accordingly.

(4L)In this section—

  • “company” includes any body corporate, and

  • “share” means share in the capital of a company, and includes stock.

(4M)Nothing in subsection (4A) of this section makes anything done by a person outside the United Kingdom unlawful unless he is—

(a)a British citizen, a British Dependent Territories citizen, a British Overseas citizen or a British National (Overseas),

(b)a body corporate incorporated under the law of the United Kingdom or of a part of the United Kingdom, or

(c)a person carrying on business in the United Kingdom, either alone or in partnership with one or more other persons..

(2)This section does not apply in relation to any merger reference made before the passing of this Act.

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