The protection of Dutch companies: government as stakeholder and industrial policy
On 5 March 2019, a bill on undesirable control in the telecommunications sector was submitted to the lower house of Parliament. The bill is primarily due to a hostile takeover attempt in 2013 for KPN by the Mexican company Móvil, which led to public and political discussion. The question arose as to whether the government should be given tools to prevent a company responsible for such important infrastructure from falling into foreign hands. The scope of the discussion was extended due to takeover attempts by foreign companies of companies such as PostNL, Unilever and Akzo Nobel. Also because of the takeover of Fox-IT, a company important for cyber-security in the Netherlands, by the UK-based NCC Group in 2015. The government has taken not only legislative measures, such as the bill, to protect the telecoms sector. For example, last month the Dutch government increased its stake in Air France-KLM in order to safeguard "the major public interest" represented by Schiphol Airport and KLM.
This newsletter summarises the most important aspects of the bill as well as other relevant developments intended to protect Dutch companies and industries.