The Panel and its rules
Section 942: The Panel
1180.This section confers on the Panel the takeover regulatory functions set out in Chapter 1. The Panel is empowered to do anything that it considers necessary or expedient in relation to its prescribed functions and it may also make arrangements for such functions to be carried out on its behalf by a committee or sub-committee of the Panel or an officer or member of staff of the Panel or a person acting as such.
1181.This Chapter does not confer on the Panel the status of a statutory body. The Panel will remain an unincorporated body, as constituted from time to time, and, as such, having rights and obligations under the common law. Those rights and obligations will be supplemented by the specific provisions set out in the Bill.
Sections 943 and 944: Rules; Further provisions about rules
1182.The Panel is given the power to make rules in relation to takeover regulation. The rule-making power is broadly drawn to ensure that the Panel can continue to make rules on the range of matters presently regulated by the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers. The following provisions are included:
The Panel is placed under an obligation to make rules as required by specified Articles of the Takeovers Directive. These are the general principles (Article 3.1 of the Directive), jurisdictional rules (Article 4.2), matters related to the protection of minority shareholders, mandatory bid and equitable price (Article 5), contents of the bid documentation (Article 6.1 to 6.3), time allowed for acceptance of a bid and publication of a bid (Articles 7 and 8), obligations of the management of the target company (Article 9) and other rules applicable to the conduct of bids (Article 13). In making rules in relation to these Articles, the Panel will be entitled to exercise Member State options where these are provided for in the Directive. The Panel’s rules will not, however, deal with certain matters contained in the Directive such as barriers to takeovers (Article 11), squeeze-out and sell-out (Articles 15 and 16), and information to be published by companies in their annual reports (Article 10) which are more appropriately dealt with in company legislation (and are the subject of further provision at Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of this Part).
The Panel is permitted to make rules on takeover bids (including, but not limited to, those which are the subject of the Directive), mergers and other transactions affecting the ownership or control of companies. The power is designed to be broad enough to cover the existing scope of the Code and sufficiently flexible to take account of future market developments. Types of matters currently covered by the Code but not covered by the Directive include the takeovers of companies not traded on a regulated market and transactions involving a change of control of a like nature to takeovers.
1183.When making rules under this section, the Panel must do so by a committee of the Panel, except in the case of rules for fees and charges under section 957 which must be made either by a committee of the Panel or by the Panel itself.
1184.The further provisions about rules that may be made by the Panel under section 944 include the power to grant derogations and waivers, which by virtue of section 943(1) must respect the general principles laid down in Article 3.1 of the Directive.
1185.Section 944(2) to (7) makes provision as to the form, public availability and verification of rules made by the Panel.
Section 945: Rulings
1186.This section enables the Panel, including (by virtue of section 942(3)) its Executive, to make rulings on the interpretation, application or effect of the rules made by the Panel.
1187.To the extent and in the circumstances specified in the rules, a ruling of the Panel has binding effect unless reviewed by the Hearings Committee or successfully appealed to the Takeover Appeal Board in accordance with rules made under section 951. It is envisaged that rules made under sections 943 and 944 will address matters such as notice to parties and right of representation of persons who might be bound by a Panel ruling.
Section 946: Directions
1188.This section allows the Panel to make provision in its rules for it to give a direction preventing a person from breaching the rules (including a direction operating on an interim basis whilst a matter is awaiting determination by the Panel) or otherwise to ensure compliance with the rules.