Bourse watchdog should have more say on takeovers: former employers’ boss

The Amsterdam bourse watchdog AFM should have a larger role in takeovers, according to Jacques Schraven, former chairman of employers group VNO-NCW says in the Financieele Dagblad.

Schraven said the AFM now has a passive, limited role with very little power. The AFM could issue guidelines in which potential buyers are forced to first negotiate with the target company’s executive and supervisory boards and declare its intentions regarding the acquisition before launching a bid, he said.

‘Give the AFM more teeth. It is still a young organisation but it should be given a wider mandate,’ he said. This would provide the AFM with a preventive role. Its involvement would eliminate commotion around and uncertainty about the shares of the target company on the bourse.

He said AFM’s involvement would also curb the activities of speculators out for a fast profit. Schraven said it is reasonable to give a company a year’s time to prepare its bid before a public and eventually hostile offer is made.

At present there is a broad discussion about the protection of bourse-listed shares. Amsterdam-based paints group AkzoNobel is now being pursued by its US peer PGG Industries. Earlier this year, US foods group made an unwelcome offer for Anglo-Dutch personal care and detergents group Unilever.

The full interview with Schraven will be published in Saturday’s FD.

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