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FTSE chairmen reject law change on foreign takeovers

Three-quarters of FTSE 100 chairmen have rejected Government plans to bring in legislation surrounding foreign takeovers, saying there is no need for a public interest test.

In a detailed survey of chairmen of the boards of Britain's biggest companies, some 74 per cent said they supported the UK's liberal takeover regime and did not think it should be restricted to protect national assets.

The results suggest plans by Business Secretary Vince Cable to legislate to ensure there can be no "wriggle room" for foreign companies that abandon commitments made during the takeover process are highly unpopular in the top flight of UK plc.

In the wake of Pfizer's aborted £41bn bid for AstraZeneca, Mr Cable said the Government may widen the public interest test - which currently only relates to companies that form a strategic part of the economy - in favour of greater protection against hostile takeovers.

The findings are included in the latest Boardroom Pulse survey by recruitment firm Korn Ferry. Asked whether the failure of Pfizer's bid had been due to political interference, 70 per cent said no.

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