Takeovers of publicly listed companies in Germany are regulated by the German Securities
Acquisition and Takeover Act, introduced in 2002 and updated several times. Uncommon
before 2000, takeovers have increased since then with 344 attempts on German targets occurring
between 2002 and the beginning of 2012.
Compliance with the Takeover Act is supervised by
BaFin, and the main principles include the equal treatment of shareholders, the provision of
sufficient information and time for shareholders to reach informed decisions, and the avoidance
of market disruptions.
The German government has not actively intervened to protect German
companies from foreign takeovers, instead professing support for the free functioning of a
market economy. The government’s policy continues to be influenced by its experience in 2009,
when it was roundly criticized for its unsuccessful efforts to exert pressure on General Motors to
sell its German-based Opel subsidiary to a consortium led by Canadian-Austrian car parts
supplier Magna and Russian bank Sberbank, mainly in order to avoid German job losses.