As Europe enters a recession induced by the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials are bracing for another possible wave of takeovers and acquisitions by Chinese companies, much like they saw after the 2008 financial crisis.
Asset prices have crumbled around the world, and European institutions have started warning their members that they need to bolster corporate defenses to prevent a Beijing-led buying spree. Earlier this month, NATO deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoana told defense ministers that some countries are vulnerable to losing their “crown jewels” because of the pandemic. And EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager told The Financial Times (paywall) that European governments should buy stakes in key companies to prevent Chinese takeovers.
Europeans are not alone: India’s commerce ministry has said that any foreign direct investment from countries with which it shares a land border—including China—will be subject to government approval, and Australia also tightened their restrictions on foreign takeovers and acquisitions to “protect Australia’s national interest.”