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New GDP Regulations in Europe: What Does This Mean for M&A?

Posted on May 18, 2018 By in Business Tips + UK Government + UK M&A

On the 25th May 2018, a new data protection regulation (the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive with the aim of protecting the personal data and privacy of EU citizens. It must be adhered to by all companies conducting business in the EU, regardless of the location in which they operate.

So, in the context of M&A activity, how will this affect you? One of the changes places a heavier emphasis on the privacy of a company’s customers; therefore, companies will be scrutinised on how they collect, store, use and transfer personal data. The knock-on effect this then has is that during a transaction, an acquirer will carry out even more comprehensive checks on the target, examining internal data protection systems and processes and undertaking checks on contracts with suppliers and subcontractors, which must comply with the new regulation.

This is in an acquirer’s best interest, as they inherit any existing data protection liabilities from the seller post-sale and the penalties for a breach are steep, attracting a maximum fine of either €20m, or 4% of global turnover, depending on whichever figure is highest.

It also will have an effect on the communicating of personal data during the due diligence process between an acquirer and seller. Personal data can now only be disclosed if the acquirer can show a legitimate interest. While in the M&A process, an acquirer can prove that they do have a legitimate interest in the data this is unlikely to extend to every individual involved in the business, instead just encompassing members of the organisation such a managers. Care then has to still be taken to not personally identify any individual outside of this remit, so a seller must make sure they are cautious not to identify individual customers or employees and suitably anonymise this data.

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The 2017 Spring Budget

Phillip Hammond of the British Conservative Party has delivered his first budget, outlining the governments plans for both the economy and public finances. We at Benchmark International have put together a summary of all this, highlighting the most important points and explaining just what kind of impact they will have on the average taxpayer.

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Fox approaches its first hurdle in its bid to take over Sky

The announcement in December of last year that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox was positioned for a full takeover of Sky was hardly one of the most popular deal announcements of 2016, and most certainly the least surprising. The £11.7bn bid has proved to be a contentious one, and Murdoch and co. have now reached one of their first major hurdles in the deal process in the form of competition authorities.

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M&A and U.K. start-ups: where next for the beginners?

The U.K has a vibrant start-up culture, with an estimated 600,000 new companies set up in 2015. A whole host of factors have powered this part of the economy. Many U.K. industries are world leaders, for example the recruitment sector, while the E.U. freedom of movement drew on human capital from across the continent. The development of new challengers in different industries and sectors plays a key role in stimulating M&A activity, with buyers attracted for reasons from exciting IP to up-and-coming talent. Established companies may find it difficult to truly innovate in-house, so M&A may also give the opportunity to roll-out acquired new products or services in support of their existing operations.

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