With governments around the world placing foreign direct investment under ever-greater scrutiny, an increasing proportion of big cross-border mergers and acquisitions are being subject to national security review procedures. Keeping abreast of new laws and engaging early with national bodies have never been more important when navigating this new landscape.

New US legislation would extend investment oversight

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has the authority to review any transaction that results in foreign control of a US business. Under the Trump administration, there has been rising sensitivity towards in-bound investment and acquisitions by Chinese companies, as well as investment from traditional allies in certain sectors. Politicians have proposed strengthening the CFIUS process against emerging threats in sensitive technologies. In November 2017, US Senator John Cornyn and Representative Robert Pittenger introduced the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 (FIRRMA), which intends to expand the scope of the CFIUS review process. As currently proposed, the legislation would extend the CFIUS review time frames, increase the scope of transactions subject to CFIUS's jurisdiction, make certain notifications mandatory, and establish a process for expedited review of certain transactions.