Paris Fences Off Strategic Industries

France's center-right government said on Aug. 31 that it will block foreign acquisitions of French companies in 10 "strategic" industries, including defense, military-related technologies, biotechnology, information security, and the casino business. But the government declined to extend such protection to major French companies, such as food producer Groupe Danone (DA ) and metals company Eramet, that have been mentioned recently as possible takeover targets. Although many French politicians wanted to offer protection to a wider range of industries, European Union regulators probably would have overruled such a move. Nevertheless, the anti-takeover provisions would apply to such well-known companies as telecom group Alcatel (ALA ) and hotel operator Accor, because of its ownership of casinos.

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