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UK Flexes Its New National Security Powers to Intervene on Deals

  • Two probes opened into foreign acquisitions of British assets
  • UK deal scrutiny will act as test cases for future investment
The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge in London.

The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge in London.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The UK has new powers to intervene on foreign investment deals, and it’s not afraid to use them. 

The government announced the first probes into deals under a new national security law this week -- scrutinizing both a Chinese-led takeover of a British semiconductor plant and a French telecom tycoon’s increased stake in BT Group Plc. The powers enable the UK to block, impose conditions and even pull-apart deals retrospectively where there’s a legitimate national security concern. The UK is scrutinizing other deals it’s concerned about, which will be announced in the coming weeks.