Italy mulls extending special powers to block takeovers from EU companies - sources

Italy is considering extending beyond the current year-end deadline the special powers it has to block attempts by European suitors to acquire Italian companies in strategic sectors, including banks and insurers, government sources said.

ROME, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Italy is considering extending beyond the current year-end deadline the special powers it has to block attempts by European suitors to acquire Italian companies in strategic sectors, including banks and insurers, government sources said.

The government in April strengthened existing anti-takeover powers in the financial, credit, insurance, energy, defence, telecommunications, transport, water, health, semiconductors and cybersecurity industries.

The bill was approved when the coronavirus crisis had hit share prices, potentially making unsolicited acquisitions easier. It allows Rome to ward off unwelcome takeovers in key sectors from non-EU and - on a temporary basis, until Dec. 31 - EU groups.

The government may extend the intra-EU regime by further six months, two government sources said on Friday, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Talks still need to be finalised within the Italian ruling coalition, they added.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Jan Harvey)

((giuseppe.fonte@thomsonreuters.com; +390680307711;))

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