As national protectionism threatens to take root in the European M&A arena, at least one important new piece of legislation seeks to counter this trend. The EU Takeover Directive aims to harmonize company takeover laws across the EU, creating one set of rules to be applied throughout the region. On May 20, 2006, certain changes arising from the Directive were brought into force in the UK. Some key measures affect private equity houses seeking to acquire public companies, as follows:
SEC under pressure to clarify climate risk reporting
In mid-June, a band of US institutional investors submitted a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission stating that the SEC rules requiring listed companies to report the impact of climate risk on their financial performance were not clear enough. The letter was addressed to SEC chairman Christopher Cox, and among the signatories of the letter was California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) chairman Rob Feckner. A report by the Financial Times last month quoted Feckner as stating: ?Investors are not receiving the climate risk information from companies that is essential to their investment decision-making?The SEC needs to provide better interpretive guidance for companies clarifying the materiality of climate change in securities filings.?
Illinois booted from TPG over Sudan law
The Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS) announced in May that the state's recently passed Sudan divestment law had resulted in the pension being excluded from TPG Partners V, the giant and popular new private equity fund managed by Texas Pacific Group. The TRSpress release also noted that costs incurred by the pension in complying with the law, which requires state public pension funds to divest from assets in companies that do business in Sudan, has totalled $1.2 million thus far. ?While we still fully support the intent of the law, we're concerned about the unintended cost to the System and to its participants,? Stan Rupnik, chief investment officer of TRS, said in the press statement.
Germany considering domestic PE tax
German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that the German finance ministry is considering taxing the earnings of the local private equity firms. The move is part of a planned corporate tax reform, said the report, citing unnamed sources, and would involve taxing domestic private equity funds and funds of funds. A spokesperson for the German finance ministry told Handelsblatt that there are no ?concrete plans to go in this direction.? Thomas Pütter, chief executive of Allianz Capital Partners and chairman of the board of the German Venture Capital Association said that no official declaration has been made regarding taxation of the domestic private equity industry. To date, official discussion has focused on the introduction of real estate investment trusts (REITs) and their possible taxation. Pütter said that any taxation of the German private equity industry would go against the mandate set out by the German government at the beginning of this year to help foster and improve the domestic market. ?Any such decision would see the demise of the German VC market and private equity industry just at the time when work is being done to mobilize the industry and the economy,? Pütter told sister online publication PrivateEquityOnline.
Wynnchurch hires marketing director
Chicago-based middle market private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital Partners has appointed Jennifer S. Christensen as director of marketing. Prior to joining Wynnchurch, Christensen was at the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors, where she served as executive director. At the Alliance, Christensen was responsible for managing the organization's key relationships, as well as building the Alliance's brand. At Wynnchurch, Christensen will play a key role in business development, focusing on the firm's marketing initiatives, including the development of the firm's brand, strengthening investor relations, and providing counsel to portfolio companies on their own marketing activities. Wynnchurch was founded in 1999 and focuses on the middle market space in the US and Canada. The firm has over $500 million of capital under management.