M&A activity witnessed a return to pre-pandemic levels globally in 2022 with businesses seeking long-term investments at attractive valuations and returns. As a result, India became a desirable location encouraged by government efforts to increase corporate efficiency and implement progressive reforms; while Indian businesses reached scalable levels for investment and buyout.

Raghubir Menon
Raghubir Menon
Partner and Regional Head of M&A and Private Equity Practice
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

India’s attractiveness resulted in surpassing all previous records of strategic M&A deal volume and value in 2022, driven by expansion, consolidation and new entries into the Indian market. Record levels of cash targeting the market along with the availability of quality assets helped deliver a boom in dealmaking, with deal values rising by 139%.

The country’s regulatory framework provides a variety of investment paths with varied categorisations, depending on the type of investment vehicle utilised. This enables domestic and foreign investors to take advantage of India’s rapidly expanding sectors through structured transactions.

M&A in India is predominantly governed by the Companies Act, 2013; the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, read alongside the Foreign Direct Investment Policy and circulars, notifications and master directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India; the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, along with the circulars, notifications, guidelines and directions issued by the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI); the Competition Act, 2022; and various rules framed under the above-mentioned acts.


  • As an essential instrument for achieving net-zero emissions, green financing is gaining traction in the Indian economy. The transition to a greener economy is being steered by initiatives like sustainable investment techniques, renewable energy assets and avoidance of carbon taxes.
  • Increased interest is seen from banks, non-banking financial companies, venture capital and private equity funds in green finance opportunities.
  • Traditional sectors including banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare, energy and manufacturing grew by 50% to around USD28 billion.
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments emerged as a breakout theme in 2022, with clean energy and electric vehicle investments leading the way, reaching nearly USD7.9 billion.


Jeel Panchal, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co in Mumbai
Jeel Panchal
Senior Associate
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Along with notification of the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2022, regulators have increased their focus on ESG. Measures include authorising 100% foreign direct investment for renewable power generation and distribution projects, introducing an ESG category of mutual funds, granting a INR350 billion (USD4.3 billion) outlay for growth in the green energy transition, approving the National Green Hydrogen Mission, and mandating ESG-related disclosures under SEBI and the business responsibility and sustainability report framework under the Companies Act, 2013.

India has also witnessed visible traction with many ESG-focused funds making entries. For instance, Aavishkaar Capital, the Mumbai-headquartered impact investing arm of the Aavishkaar Group, announced the launch of a USD250 million ESG-first fund in collaboration with German investment and development bank KfW. The fund will focus on investing in Asia and Africa to strengthen ESG practices of mid-cap businesses, and offer them growth capital.

Corporations are also taking steps towards ESG. For example, JSW Cement signed its first sustainability-linked loan of INR4 billion (USD50 million) with MUFG Bank India and plans to deploy these funds to achieve its capacity target of 25 million tonnes per annum with an increasing focus on sustainability.


With an increase in private equity investments, the emergence of customised risk products, development of an experienced ecosystem of underwriters – and advisers providing solution-oriented counsel – are some of the key metrics paving the way for warranty and indemnity insurance.

With developments in the warranty and indemnity insurance market and comfort insurers, the value proposition of the product is stronger due to reduced “deductibles” (including zero deductibles for title risks), lower insurance premiums and strong terms for the insured.


After a decade of stable, low-interest rates and steadily rising valuations, a major concern of the M&A industry has been inflated valuations and a significant gap between investor expectations and the bid-ask from investor companies or sellers. Valuations are now returning to healthy figures as liquidity tightens around the world. Investors are undertaking due diligence on time and revising valuation metrics not only in the fintech sector but also in edtech and the fast-moving consumer goods sectors.


Ketayun Mistry, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co in Mumbai
Ketayun Mistry
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
  • India has progressively increased the flow of money towards the ESG sector, but still faces challenges. Many sectors are unable to contribute towards ESG solely because of the nature of their product and the techniques utilised. Companies need to consciously move towards ESG and diversion of capital towards business models utilising greener sources of energy and renewables. The Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023, has also ushered in significant regulations affecting the cross-border space.
  • Scrutiny into deals and heavy fines on non-compliant conglomerates – notably Amazon and Google – points towards uncertainty and added concerns among dealmakers in respect of strict regulatory adherence and their impact on ongoing transactions.
  • In terms of data protection, India does not have a standalone law at present and usage of personal data is regulated by the Information Technology Act, 2000. With the introduction of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, regulators are intensifying scrutiny on the processing of digital personal data both within and outside the country for limited purposes.

Greater attention to data protection will prompt acquirers to examine target companies’ business models to ascertain the amount of data possessed and transferred.


Recent M&A in industries including contract manufacturing, renewables, pharmaceuticals and healthcare are being fuelled by a shift in which private equity firms, conglomerates and unicorns are acquiring assets and combining them to build platforms. For example, with strategic investment in health food brand Yoga Bar, Indian conglomerate ITC bolstered its position and quickly expanded its nutrition-driven healthy foods market. Zomato’s acquisition of delivery service Blinkit facilitated the former’s Zomato competition with its rival Swiggy, infiltrating the instant delivery market.

Amid a surge in acquisitions of companies, some of the larger deals also include HDFC Bank and Housing Development Finance Corp nearing completion of their much-awaited and unprecedented merger via a swap of shares, creating India’s fifth most valuable bank, with a net worth of about USD168 billion. Also noteworthy is Reliance Retail Ventures’ acquisition of the cash and carry business Metro Cash & Carry India, of German retailer Metro AG, growing the retail empire of Reliance Industries.

Corporate management teams and investors are also raising the bar on capital allocation in response to rising capital costs by divesting underperforming and non-core companies where there is less confidence in their ability to expand profitably as a member of the group organisation. Debt reduction is one of the significant reasons for divestment. For example, with Citibank losing momentum in the credit card business, its spending share fell to 6% in 2021 from around 11% in 2018. In 2021, Citibank decided to sell its retail banking business to the fourth-largest issuer of credit cards, Axis Bank, which acquired Citibank’s consumer business and non-banking financial assets business for approximately INR116 billion, adding approximately 2.5 million credit card holders, making it one of the top three card businesses in India.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India has streamlined and liberalised the existing regulatory fabric to cover a wider scope of economic activities and reduce the need for approvals with the introduction of the Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Rules, 2022, Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2022, and Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Directions, 2022 – collectively known as the OI Guidelines. These enhanced OI Guidelines will boost both local and international players’ trust in the government’s goal to ease dealmaking over coming decades.


India is now a key player in the global economic landscape and is expected to become a USD5 trillion economy by 2025. This makes it an attractive market for investments and acquisitions, where the market has been growing consistently in terms of deal value. The authors now expect macroeconomic factors to decide how this year pans out. The PwC report on deals in India suggests a strong year for the energy and infrastructure sectors, manufacturing and ESG.

In addition, financial services, technology, healthcare, energy and power, and industrials are expected to remain active in terms of both value creation and market share. When structuring M&A transactions with Indian entities, global and domestic players will need to align with legal and regulatory changes, and at the same time tie in with past precedents of dealmaking in India.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Express Towers, 23rd Floor

Nariman Point, Mumbai

Maharashtra – 400 021, India

Contact details:
Tel: +91 22 4933 5555


The pandemic and rise in geopolitical tensions have triggered significant developments in the regulation of M&A worldwide, and Japan is no exception. Prospective investors should pay attention to recent developments in two major areas of regulation on foreign direct investments (FDIs) and takeover defence measures in Japan.


A key piece of legislation regulating FDIs that has been amended to address international developments is the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (FEFTA). Although some of the activities are not expressly referred to as investments, among others, the FEFTA broadly regulates the following:

  • Acquisition of 1% or more of the shares in a listed company in Japan;
  • Acquisition of share(s) in unlisted companies in Japan from people who are not foreign investors;
  • Affirmative votes on certain matters in a Japanese company under certain circumstances, such as a substantial change in the scope of business, and the appointment of a director or corporate auditor;
  • Provision of loans to Japanese companies that exceed statutory thresholds; and
  • Establishment of a branch, factory, or other business office in Japan.

Under the FEFTA, a foreign entity investing in Japan must submit an ex post facto report to the relevant government ministries via the Bank of Japan. However, if the target company (or any of its subsidiaries) is within certain business sectors prescribed by the FEFTA and related government ordinances (designated business sectors), the act requires the provision of prior notification to the relevant government ministries.

Kazuaki Tobioka, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Kazuaki Tobioka
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Tel: +81 3 6775 1165

It should be noted that designated business sectors encompass not only traditional ones related to national security (e.g., telecommunications, nuclear power and others) but also covers tech-related industries, including software manufacturing and information processing. It is also noteworthy that the designated business sectors list is continually updated based on global developments around national and economic security.

Some sectors recently added to the list include pharmaceuticals or medical equipment-related businesses (in response to the global pandemic) in 2020, rare earth-related mining businesses (to ensure the stable supply of rare earths) in 2021, and several businesses in the supply chain of essential materials and products, such as semiconductors, industrial robotics and the like (in light of increasing concerns around supply chains and unsanctioned use of civilian technologies for military purposes) in 2023.

It is generally understood that these additions are designed to bring FDI regulation into alignment with the newly introduced Economic Security Promotion Act, which seeks to enhance Japan’s economic security, although it does not directly regulate FDIs in Japan.

The FEFTA provides exemptions from the prior notification requirement, but assessment of their applicability involves considerably complex and technical analysis and procedures. For example, exemptions from the prior notification requirement are not available in principle for investments in “core” designated business sectors that are particularly important and “sensitive”. This creates uncertainty for investors because authorities tend to pay greater attention and are more likely to closely scrutinise investments into core business sectors.

Yusuke Sahashi, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Yusuke Sahashi
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Tel: +81 3 6775 1183

Regulators possibly may also continue to monitor investments that qualify for an exemption but are still considered sensitive. For instance, Tencent Holdings’ investment in Rakuten Group, Japan’s mobile network operator, was structured to qualify for exemption from prior notification to the regulatory authority, but the Japanese government subsequently announced its intention to keep surveilling the investment.

Where prior notification is required, the government ministries responsible for the relevant designated business sector will review a proposed transaction for a 30-day statutory period from the date on which the notification is formally accepted, and the transaction cannot be closed during this time. Proposed transactions deemed as problematic on grounds of national security or public order and safety will be subject to suspension or transaction restructuring.

Given the continued expansion of the designated business sectors list in the past few years, foreign investors need to be well advised to determine whether the prior notification requirement is applicable. For instance, a significant number of investments into tech startups have triggered a pre-closing review under the FEFTA. Further, it can sometimes be overlooked that FDIs under the FEFTA involve affirmative voting by foreign shareholders of the target and such votes may trigger the prior notification requirement.

Foreign investors should conduct careful checks in advance and work with experienced local counsel to come up with a systematic approach to navigate Japan’s FDI regulations and avoid inadvertent violation of the prior notification requirement, as well as streamlining the investment process.


Takeover defence measures in Japan have undergone substantial changes in recent years. Since the mid-2000s, hundreds of listed companies have adopted so-called “advance warning” takeover defence measures where, typically, the board of directors of the target company is granted power in advance to allot share options without consideration to all the shareholders on exercise terms that are discriminatorily aimed solely at prospective hostile acquirers.

Ryoichi Kaneko, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Ryoichi Kaneko
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Tel: +81 3 6775 1249

This defence requires the approval of shareholders ahead of time, in preparation for possible future hostile takeover attempts. However, partly due to the imposition of more stringent stewardship responsibilities on institutional investors and the exercise of their votes, the number of listed companies that have adopted such measures is declining. As of April 2023, only 269, or 6.8%, of all listed companies in Japan, have adopted advanced warning defensive measures against possible takeovers.

Against this backdrop, new forms of “emergency type” takeover defence measures have emerged, which are implemented only when companies are confronted with unanticipated hostile takeovers. Some prospective hostile acquirers have filed petitions for preliminary injunctions against such emergency defence measures, resulting in the accumulation of a body of significant judicial decisions in 2021 and 2022. Based on relevant court rulings to date, the judiciary seems generally to favour the will of shareholders, as demonstrated by the fact that all implementations of emergency type measures permitted by the courts have been approved by shareholders. But some uncertainties on the attitude of the courts towards emergency type measures remain. This can be seen in two contrasting recent cases.

The first case involves Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho (TKS) in 2021. The Supreme Court affirmed an earlier judgment of the Tokyo High Court dismissing a petition for a preliminary injunction against takeover defence measures taken by TKS against a prospective acquirer, which had amassed around 40% of the shares through on-market transactions. The high court emphasised that those takeover defence measures had been approved by TKS shareholders despite a “majority of minority” vote (i.e., a resolution passed at a general meeting by a majority of shareholders present who have no interest in the takeover, excluding the prospective acquirer and members of the company’s management).

The second case involves Mitsuboshi in 2022. The Supreme Court affirmed an earlier judgment of the Osaka High Court accepting a petition for a preliminary injunction against takeover defence measures that Mitsuboshi took against a prospective acquirer and parties acting in concert, who had amassed around 22% of the shares through on-market transactions. Mitsuboshi had sought (and obtained) the approval of its shareholders for a proposal to exercise the takeover countermeasures against not only the acquirer and its in-concert parties but also other shareholders who had voted in favour of the dismissal of Mitsuboshi’s directors at a previous shareholders’ meeting.

The courts seemed to have rendered different decisions in two similar cases, and it should be noted that the Mitsuboshi case differed from the TKS case.

More specifically, the court noted several points regarding the Mitsuboshi case. There were doubts about whether the shareholders’ approval of the countermeasure was genuinely valid because Mitsuboshi had declared that the countermeasures would apply to those shareholders who had voted against its directors, and shareholders may have felt coerced into voting in favour of the countermeasure. Mitsuboshi’s proposal for the hostile acquirer and its in-concert parties to be exempt from the countermeasures was impracticable and too restrictive on shareholders’ rights, and the takeover countermeasures seemed self-serving in terms of enabling the incumbent directors of Mitsuboshi to stay on.

As is the case with judicial decisions in general, the specific factual matrix and circumstances of each case have a direct bearing on its outcome. Accordingly, despite the body of rulings available (including the two cases discussed above), the judicial attitude towards hostile takeovers remains unclear.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has also released a draft of its Guidelines for Corporate Takeovers in June 2023, which is expected to be finalised after the public comment process ends in August 2023. The guidelines seek to establish best practices and remove uncertainties, as well as encouraging acquisitions that are economically beneficial to society and promoting a fair and well-functioning M&A market. As part of these objectives, the guidelines also include a section on principles in takeover defence measures.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Otemachi Park Building

1-1-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku

Tokyo 100 8136, Japan

Contact details:
Tel: +81 3 6775 1000


Fuelled by a strong mandate from the people, the Philippines is implementing key reforms affecting M&A.


Maria Elizabeth Peralta Loriega, Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Maria Elizabeth Peralta Loriega
Founding Partner and Co-Managing Partner
Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Metro Manila

Philippine solar, wind and hydropower projects are now open to 100% foreign ownership. In September 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued DOJ Opinion No. 21 recognising that solar, wind, hydro and ocean or tidal energy resources are not “natural resources” under the 1987 Constitution.

In line with this opinion, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued DOE Department Circular No. DC 2022-11-0034 in November 2022, lifting foreign ownership restrictions in the renewable energy industry. Prior to the DOJ opinion, the foreign equity restrictions under article XII, section 2 of the 1987 Constitution were applied to the renewable energy sector.

The strict constitutional restrictions on natural resources were often viewed as discouraging much-needed foreign investment in the Philippines. Initially, the DOJ opinion was met with skepticism as some viewed it as an unauthorised reinterpretation of the term “natural resources” under the 1987 Constitution. Nevertheless, no one has challenged the validity of the issuances of the DOJ and DOE. Pending the final action of the Supreme Court in an actual case or controversy, investors can rely on the legal principle that these issuances are presumed to be valid and constitutional.


Philippine telecoms, including several businesses previously regarded as public utilities, are now open to 100% foreign ownership. In March 2022, the Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 11659, amending the archaic Commonwealth Act No. 146 that defined public utility. The amendments restricted the definition of public utility to a public service that operates, manages, or controls for public use any of the following:

  • Distribution of electricity;
  • Transmission of electricity;
  • Petroleum and petroleum products including pipeline and transmission systems;
  • Water pipeline distribution systems and wastewater pipeline systems, including sewerage pipeline systems;
  • Seaports; and
  • Public utility vehicles.
Bryan San Juan, Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Bryan San Juan
Senior Partner
Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Metro Manila

By restricting the definition of public utility to the above-mentioned exclusive list, Republic Act No. 11659 now excludes numerous businesses traditionally classified as public utilities including airport operations, railway operations and telecommunications, from article XII, section 11 of the 1987 Constitution, which imposes a 40% maximum foreign ownership restriction.

The restricted definition under the amended law also effectively reverses many opinions rendered by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government agencies that expanded the definition of public utility, which then included, among others, ground-handling operations at airports.

In light of the above-mentioned development, the 12th Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) now reflects that the telecoms industry is not a public utility, for instance, and hence not covered by the 40% maximum foreign equity restriction. So a telecoms company may now be 100% foreign owned, subject only to special conditions including the requirement of reciprocity by the state of the foreign investor where critical infrastructure is involved.

It is important to note, however, that Republic Act No. 11659 prohibits an entity controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government, or foreign state-owned enterprises, from owning capital in any public service classified as a public utility or critical infrastructure. The law defines critical infrastructure to mean any public service that owns, uses or operates systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the Philippines that the incapacity or destruction of such systems or assets would have a detrimental impact on national security, including telecoms and other vital services as may be declared by the president.

Where the public service is critical infrastructure, the law prohibits foreign nationals from owning more than 50% of the capital of entities engaged in the operation and management of said critical infrastructure, unless the country of such foreign national accords reciprocity to Philippine nationals under foreign law, treaty or international agreement. Reciprocity may be satisfied if the country of the foreign investor accords rights of similar value in other economic sectors.

As in the case of relaxation of the constitutional restrictions on the utilisation of natural resources, the amendment to the definition of public utility was also initially met with criticism from conservative constitutionalists who look at the definition of public utility as not merely a statutory one but, more importantly, a constitutional one. As a constitutional concept, it has been argued that the same cannot be modified by a mere statute. Nevertheless, the law is presumed valid unless annulled by appropriate courts.


Recolito Ferdinand N Cantre Jr, Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Recolito Ferdinand N Cantre Jr
Senior Partner
Sarmiento Loriega Law Office
Metro Manila

The FINL also reflects amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalisation Act, lowering the paid-up capital of retail trade enterprises from USD2.5 million to PHP25 million (USD458,000). Hence, foreign entities engaged in retail trade enterprises may set up business more easily.

The manufacture or distribution of products requiring clearance from the Department of National Defence was removed from the 12th FINL, effectively removing any foreign equity restriction. Previously, the manufacture of guns and ammunition for warfare, military ordnance, guided missiles, tactical aircraft, space vehicles and military communication equipment were limited to 40% foreign equity.


Parties to M&A must also consider the new merger notification thresholds set by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC): the size of the parties test; and the size of the transaction test.

From 1 March 2023, M&A parties are required to notify the PCC if the size of the party exceeds PHP7 billion and the size of the transaction exceeds PHP2.9 billion.

Failure to comply with merger notification exposes parties to substantial fines ranging from 1% to 5% of the value of the transaction. Under the Philippine Competition Act, the M&A agreement is also void without prejudice to the PCC’s finding that the M&A is prohibited if it leads to a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market. A declaration that the M&A is void for non-compliance with the merger control requirements also exposes future transactions of the parties to stricter regulatory scrutiny.


Two tax reform packages via the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law introduced major changes to the Philippine Tax Code. Since 1 July 2020, the applicable corporate income tax rate is now 25% (previously 30%). For corporations that have a net income not exceeding PHP5 million and assets (excluding land where the business is located) not exceeding PHP100 million, the corporate income tax rate was further lowered to 20%.

A notable change is the repeal of the Tax Code provision on improperly accumulated earnings tax (IAET). Improperly accumulated earnings refer to the retained earnings of a corporation that have not been distributed as dividends to its shareholders or appropriated for legitimate business purposes. The repeal allows the investor to park their funds indefinitely at the domestic subsidiary level for other business purposes without the risk of assessment for IAET.

As to documentary stamp taxes (DST), the TRAIN Law increased most of the prior rates by 100%, except the DST on debt instruments, which was increased by only 50% to the current rate of 0.75% of the issue price of the debt instrument. The DST on property insurance policies, fidelity bonds and other insurance, indemnity bonds, deeds of sale, conveyances and donations of real property remain unchanged.

The TRAIN Law removed the requirement for a tax-free exchange confirmatory ruling from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the inclusion into the Tax Code text of previous interpretations found only in BIR rulings covering tax-free exchanges. These amendments remove most of the issues that previously hindered M&A structured as tax-free exchanges in the Philippines.

Another notable amendment is the clear exception to the “deemed gift” provision in the Tax Code, which imposes donor’s tax on transfers of property for less than an adequate and full consideration. Under the TRAIN Law, a bona fide sale, exchange or other transfer of property made in the ordinary course of business, and at arm’s length, is carved out from the “deemed gift” provision and, consequently, from the coverage of the donor’s tax. Such a transaction is considered bona fide and at arm’s length if it is free from any donative intent and is, therefore, made for an adequate and full consideration in money, or money’s worth.

The CREATE Law introduced tax incentives such as income tax holidays, special corporate income tax rates, enhanced deductions, duty exemptions and value-added tax exemptions. These tax incentives apply to certain activities and registered businesses and enterprises provided under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), which covers industries such as agriculture, fishery, forestry, alternative energy, mass housing and green eco-systems, among others. Under the SIPP, the industries are classified into three tiers, each one determining the duration and kinds of tax incentives available to an activity or business enterprise.

Sarmiento Loriega

Sarmiento Loriega Law Office

29/F, Joy Nostalg Center, 17 ADB Ave. Ortigas

Pasig City, Metro Manila – 1600, the Philippines

Contact details:
Tel: +63 2 7 798 8115


James Hsiao, Dentons
James Hsiao
Senior Partner
Tel: + 886 2 2702 0208 Ext. 206

Taiwan’s cross-border transactions had declined in the past two years, due to global uncertainties relating to the pandemic, travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions. With a greater focus on local development, there has been a rise in injected capital into domestic green energy developments, such as wind and solar power farms.

As evidenced by statistics published by the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA), the authors also see an increase in industries such as shipping, warehousing, wholesale and retail, signalling that businesses in Taiwan are ready for the opening of borders and anticipating a renewed rise in cross-border commerce.

This is also expected to bring about a new upward trend in the local M&A market, as companies begin to seek new opportunities while manufacturers, suppliers and business partners deepen their impact and presence in the Asia-Pacific region.


Key statutes relevant to M&A are:

  • The Company Act, promulgated by the MoEA;
  • The Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act, promulgated by the MoEA;
  • The Securities and Exchange Act, promulgated by the Financial Supervisory Commission; and
  • The Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals, promulgated by the MoEA.

It is worth noting that depending on the industry and deal structure of each M&A transaction, additional statutes and regulations may also be applicable.

For example, where the overseas investor intends to transact in the renewable energy industry, such as wind and solar power farms, the Renewable Energy Development Act will come into play. Where the M&A deal involves a drastic change in the employment of current employees, the Labour Standards Act (as promulgated by the Ministry of Labour) may become applicable.


In response to the focus on the local market, a new amendment to the Securities and Exchange Act was promulgated on 21 April 2023. Prior to the amendment, any individual or entity acquiring more than 10% of the total issued shares of a public company shall report such an acquisition to the competent authority and make a public announcement; and any public tender offer to purchase the securities of a public company that bypassed the centralised securities exchange market or over-the-counter market could be conducted only after the offer was reported to the competent authority.

Lori Hung, Dentons
Lori Hung
Tel: + 886 2 2702 0208 Ext. 216

After the amendment, the reporting threshold has been lowered to 5% of the total issued shares of a public company.

The Executive Yuan also earlier published and passed an amendment to the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act, on 24 May 2022. Since the amendment, current directors of the board are now required to declare any material interests and reasons behind their approval or objection to the merger, strengthening informational transparency between the company and shareholders, and allowing shareholders to make a more informed decision regarding mergers.

Additionally, restrictions requiring the approval of the shareholders’ meeting have been eased. Merger deals where the consideration does not exceed 20% of the net value of the company may now be decided by the board of directors alone, streamlining and accelerating the merger process. The amendment allows for the cost of intangible assets obtained through the merger to be amortised within a set range of time, and also allows startup entrepreneurs to pay income tax on considerations received from selling a startup company within the next three years.

The above-mentioned amendments aim to create a friendly environment for M&A of businesses, and the authors anticipate a rise in the number of M&As with travel restrictions cancelled and cross-border commerce picking up again.

Earlier, in January 2020, the Judicial Yuan promulgated the Commercial Case Adjudication Act. In the past, commercial litigation cases were often complicated, with a tendency to spawn other cases, and often unable to be resolved within a short period of time. This could lead to restricting operations of related companies, impacting market enthusiasm to invest, and may even impact or damage Taiwan’s economic competitiveness.

The Commercial Case Adjudication Act simplifies the litigation process by implementing mandatory mediation before any litigation commences, and appoints experienced finance professionals as well as those with related backgrounds to act as mediators.

Further, for cases that fail to be resolved through mediation, the commercial court bars parties from representing themselves and mandates parties to appoint qualified attorneys. This further simplifies and quickens the process, creating a friendlier environment for businesses to deal with potential commercial disputes.


Despite multiple legislative efforts to attract inbound investment, foreign investors still need to jump through several hurdles, depending on the circumstances.

Firstly, to maintain an understanding of the industries and ensure compliance with regulations, the Investment Commission sets standards and examines investments both by foreign investors into Taiwan and outbound investments.Foreign investors must apply to the Investment Commission for approval prior to investment. Subject to the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals and related enforcement rules, it is at the discretion of the commission whether to approve or deny such a request.

Even if the application is approved, the Investment Commission may request further documentation. Due to the strict and detailed review process, it is not uncommon for an application to take several months before ultimately being approved.

Secondly, the Cross-Strait Act and its enforcement rules, as promulgated by the Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan, regulate investment in the island by mainland-funded businesses and individuals. Mainland Chinese businesses with a large amount of capital may, depending on the circumstances, encounter difficulty investing in certain restricted industries.

In addition, due to recent global uncertainties relating to trade tension between the US and mainland China, international companies may need to reconsider their overall composition and arrangement when dealing with the two global powers.

Investors, therefore, need to think and strategise carefully about any potential impact not only of ongoing trade tension, but also ramifications on their businesses regionally.

Lastly, the US Federal Reserve announced interest rate hikes by seven times alone in 2022, continuing into 2023. In response, Taiwan’s Central Bank has also announced interest rate rises, prompting local banks to follow suit. For businesses requiring facilities from financial institutions, this may be another hurdle; taking potential future interest rate hikes into account when determining M&A offers.


Despite the above-mentioned challenges, the authors maintain an optimistic outlook on Taiwan’s M&A market for 2023.Global transactions had already started rising in the latter half of 2022. While the pandemic has impacted and damaged multiple industries, the authors note that this could also serve as a breeding ground for consolidation of businesses in impacted industries.

With the implementation of M&A-friendly legislation and a dedicated court for commercial disputes, the authors expect continued growth of the M&A market in 2023 and onwards.

Dentons Law Firm


3F, No. 77, Section 2

Dunhua South Road

Taipei, Taiwan

Contact details:
Tel: +886 2 2702 0208


Charunun Sathitsuksomboon, Tilleke & Gibbins
Charunun Sathitsuksomboon
Tilleke & Gibbins
Tel: +66 2056 5541

M&A transactions for private and public limited companies in Thailand can be achieved in many ways, including acquiring shares from existing shareholders of a limited company, subscribing to new shares issued by a limited company, an amalgamation of limited companies, acquiring all or part of the assets or business of a limited company, and a merger of private limited companies.

The Civil and Commercial Code is the key legislation governing private limited companies, while public limited companies are mainly governed by the Public Limited Company Act of 1992, as amended, unless listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), in which case the Securities and Exchange Act of 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rules, the Capital Market Supervisory Board (CMSB) Rules, and the SET Rules also apply. The legal framework for most M&A transactions concerning Thai limited companies is also provided in both the code and the Public Limited Company Act.


On 7 February 2023, the Act Amending the Civil and Commercial Code came into effect, introducing a new merger scheme as another approach to business combination for private limited companies. A merger under the amended Civil and Commercial Code is a merger of two or more companies, resulting in either a new company with all merged juristic entities ceasing to exist or one of the companies continuing to exist with the other companies ceasing to exist as juristic entities.

The merger replaces the “amalgamation” in the previous version of the code, which merely prescribed a legal framework and identified the implications of mergers but did not specify a concrete legal framework for the acquisition of assets or businesses.

Arguably, the first type of merger described above is the same as an amalgamation under the previous version of the code, while the end result of the second type of merger is similar to an entire business transfer where one of the companies continues to exist after the merger. The difference is that the amended code has put the same legal procedures in place for both types of mergers, including:

  • An approval resolution from a shareholders’ meeting;
  • Registration of the resolution with the public registrar;
  • Arrangement for a purchase of shares from disapproving shareholders;
  • A notice to creditors for raising any objections;
  • A joint meeting between the shareholders of all merging companies; and
  • Registration of the merger with the public registrar.

After a merger (of either type), the new or surviving company assumes all assets, liabilities, rights, obligations, and responsibilities of the dissolved companies, by virtue of the amended Civil and Commercial Code.

For listed companies, the requirements and procedures under the Public Limited Company Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, the SEC Rules, the CMSB Rules, and the SET Rules also need to be considered.


Wanwanuch Pornlert
Tilleke & Gibbins
Tel: +66 2056 5592

Although M&A transactions can be structured in many ways in Thailand, the acquisition of an existing limited company’s shares is the most common one. It is less complicated, has fewer legal procedures and makes for a smoother transition of business ownership (when the acquisition is of all or most of the shares) than an asset or business acquisition. The acquisition of shares in an existing limited company (often referred to as a target) can occur through an acquisition of shares from the target’s existing shareholders or through a subscription of new shares issued by the target (or through a combination of these). These two methods are described below.

In the acquisition of shares from existing shareholders, shares in a private or non-listed public company can be acquired through a share sale and purchase agreement with the selling shareholders that sets commercial terms such as the amount of shares to be sold, date of the transaction closing, selling price, pre-closing conditions, warranties and indemnities. An acquisition of shares in a private company can be executed by the selling shareholders through a simple share transfer instrument specifying the details as required by the Civil and Commercial Code, together with recording the transactions in the target company’s register of shareholders. A transfer of shares in a non-listed public company becomes effective between the parties on the endorsement and delivery of the share certificate to the purchaser, pursuant to the Public Limited Company Act.

An acquisition of shares from the existing shareholders of a listed company can be arranged with or without a sale and purchase agreement and by way of a mandatory or voluntary tender offer. An acquisition with one or more selling shareholders may trigger a mandatory tender offer for the remaining shares if it falls under certain conditions, such as the acquisition of shares reaching a trigger threshold of 25%, 50%, or 75% of the total voting rights of the target. Alternatively, a voluntary tender offer for all shares of the target or for 25% or more but less than 50% of the shares is another possible way of acquiring shares in a listed company.

An acquirer can also subscribe to newly issued shares in a private or non-listed public company, which can proceed through a share subscription agreement that includes commercial terms such as the amount of shares to be allotted and subscribed, the subscription price, pre-closing conditions, warranties, and indemnities. Under this structure, the target company needs to increase its registered capital in accordance with the legal procedures prescribed in the Civil and Commercial Code or the Public Limited Company Act, including obtaining an approval resolution of not less than three-quarters of all stock held by the shareholders in the shareholders’ meeting and having the capital increase registered with the public registrar.

As for a listed company, the increase of registered capital and offering of newly issued shares on a private placement basis must be approved by the SEC in accordance with the commission’s rules and regulations, as well as any other applicable laws. The SEC has revamped various rules relating to private placements by listed companies with a view to streamlining the offering process and reducing the documentation required for submission. Most of these rules were revised by the CMSB on 28 December 2022 and came into effect on 1 July 2023. The key amendments include elimination of the application requirement, requiring submission of an independent financial advisory opinion, simplification of the market price calculation and clarification of the offering period.


Thailand’s legal limitations on foreign ownership may present notable challenges for foreign investors anticipating cross-border M&A deals in the country. These limitations can impact the choice of M&A structure and a foreign investor’s controlling power over a target company.

The Foreign Business Act, 1999, is the main law governing foreign ownership of businesses in Thailand. Under the Foreign Business Act, companies registered overseas, or registered domestically with 50% or more of the shares held by non-Thais, are deemed to be foreign. Foreign companies are restricted from engaging in certain businesses in three lists in the Foreign Business Act. This means foreign investment in companies operating a restricted business is limited to less than 50% of the shares unless a foreign business licence is granted, or the business is granted a conditional exemption by virtue of the provisions of the act, ministerial regulations, investment promotion laws, industrial estate laws, or treaties between Thailand and certain countries.

Furthermore, certain business types are strictly prohibited to foreign nationals under specific laws, and there is no way for a company with foreign majority ownership to operate such a business. An example of this is the land transport business under the Land Transportation Act, 1979, as amended, which can only be engaged in by a limited company with no less than 51% of its shares held by Thai nationals. Apart from that, the Land Code Act, 1954, also generally prohibits foreign nationals from owning land in Thailand unless otherwise permitted under investment promotion or industrial estate laws.

Legal considerations such as the effect of Thailand’s restrictions on foreign ownership are just one of the issues that can be made clearer by a robust legal due diligence exercise, which is especially important for foreign parties and others who may not be familiar with Thai laws. Legal due diligence entails a thorough review of corporate structure, business operations, regulatory compliance, requisite licences, labour, property, and other relevant aspects of a target company, and this will clarify whether there are any foreign ownership restrictions concerning the target company or the proposed investment. Other comprehensive due diligence, such as tax and finance due diligence, can be carried out in parallel. These can help investors determine the most efficient M&A structure and method for carrying out legally compliant business activities through a target company in Thailand.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Tilleke & Gibbins

26/F, Supalai Grand Tower

1011 Rama 3 Road, Chongnonsi, Yannawa

Bangkok – 10120, Thailand

Contact details:
Tel: +66 2056 5555


Foreign investment in Vietnam continues to be encouraging. The latest figures reported by the Foreign Investment Agency for 2023 note that nearly USD5.45 billion in newly registered capital, adjusted and contributed capital for purchasing shares, and capital contributions from foreign investors was recorded from 1 January to 20 March, with realised capital from foreign investment projects estimated to exceed USD4.3 billion.

Tram Ngoc Bich Nguyen, Tilleke & Gibbins
Tram Ngoc Bich Nguyen
Tilleke & Gibbins
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 28 6284 5668

These statistics highlight the increasing attractiveness of Vietnam as an investment destination and reflect its robust economic growth. Sectors such as technology, media and telecommunications are expected to experience increased deal-making due to rapid digitalisation. The automotive and industrial manufacturing sectors are likely to see divestments related to sustainability.

Since 2015, Vietnam has implemented various measures to strengthen its legal framework and enhance the efficiency of market governance. This has resulted in improved government management in taxation, investment, competition and e-commerce. Tax loopholes on indirect transfers have been closed, stronger rules on investment and competition are levelling the playing field, and clear frameworks for e-commerce have been established.


Business activities are categorised according to the Vietnam Standard Industrial Classification. These classifications determine the necessary licences, permits and regulations for operating businesses, as well as guidelines for foreign investors looking to invest in specific sectors.

Foreign investment restrictions, which are based on business activities, include limitations on foreign ownership, and conditions imposed on foreign investors such as shareholding or operations requirements. These restrictions are governed by both international treaties that Vietnam has signed and domestic laws.

Some examples of foreign investment restrictions include the following:

  • Foreign investors can only own up to 99.99% of the capital of an advertising business;
  • Foreign-invested enterprises may only purchase buildings for their own use and cannot sublease them to others;
  • Foreign owners of 100% foreign-owned banks must have a financial capacity of at least USD10 billion in assets; and
  • Foreign investors in hospital projects must capitalise the projects with at least USD20 million in investment capital.
Duong Duy Nguyen, Tilleke & Gibbins
Duong Duy Nguyen
Senior Associate
Tilleke & Gibbins
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 28 6284 8184

Accordingly, M&A transactions for foreign investors require more effort, as they cannot acquire target companies and assets as easily as local investors. This protects local businesses that may not have the scale and size to compete with global players, giving them time to grow and develop.

Vietnamese regulatory bodies such as the Departments of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the National Competition Commission and other authorities act as gatekeepers, assessing foreign investors’ financial capacity and market effects of M&A transactions before allowing parties to proceed. They also issue approvals for the movement of bank funds and the transfer of legal ownership.

Some foreign investors invest lots of time and money in novel deal structuring so they can invest in targets without foreign investment restrictions. Therefore, Vietnamese regulators learn and adapt.

In 2020, Vietnam enacted the Law on Investment, which took effect in 2021, introducing significant changes. The law provides a mechanism for the Vietnamese investment registration authority to raise a challenge in court against “sham” transactions by investors, and terminate some or all of the operations of the target companies. This risk hangs over any deal structure intended to circumvent foreign investment restrictions.

Other foreign investors directly consult Vietnamese regulators and seek exceptions to foreign investment restrictions via pilot programmes or special waivers. This is a much safer alternative to creative deal structuring. However, these foreign investors tend to be much larger and more influential, with the ability to interact at high levels of government. This option may be impractical for some investors.

One notable change in M&A approval introduced by the 2020 Law on Investment is that foreign investors acquiring shares in Vietnamese companies with land use rights in specific areas – including islands, border and coastal commune-level areas, and areas affecting national defence and security – require approval from the investment authority. This requirement poses two practical issues. First, the target company needs to declare its land use rights and provide supporting documents for evaluation by investment authorities. Second, the M&A approval process may face potential rejections or delays due to an unclear process in which the investment authority consults the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Public Security regarding security and national defence conditions before granting M&A approval.

Nguyen Khoi Le, Tilleke & Gibbins
Nguyen Khoi Le
Tilleke & Gibbins
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 24 3772 6688

Prior to 2015, Vietnam did not have specific laws regarding corporate income tax for indirect transfers, namely transactions involving transfers at the offshore holding company level, instead of direct targets in Vietnam. To address this issue, Vietnam introduced Decree 12/2015/ND-CP in 2015, which established a legal framework for the taxation of any capital transfers and investment projects that involve a Vietnamese company.

In 2018, Vietnam issued a new Competition Law, which took effect in July 2019, to establish an obligation to notify economic concentration from mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, joint ventures, and other activities prescribed by law if the economic concentration reaches a set threshold. The criteria include total asset value, total revenue and combined market share of the parties participating in the economic concentration, and the total value of the transaction. Different thresholds apply to M&A transactions of credit institutions and insurance and securities companies. A key piece of this framework is that its scope includes onshore and offshore transactions.

Since 2022, e-commerce regulations have required approval from the Ministry of Public Security for foreign investment resulting in control over one or more of the top-five e-commerce companies in Vietnam, based on total visits, number of sellers, total transactions, and total transaction value. But this list has not yet been published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

For M&A transactions involving projects, the transfer of ownership of the project companies, land, or project development rights may be restricted if the project or land holds some important value that requires careful vetting of the owners. Once a project investor receives in-principal approval, it may be difficult for another investor to jump in without also being subject to the same vetting process. Given these regulations, foreign investors face greater scrutiny and a plethora of approvals and requirements. Only serious investors looking for attractive opportunities in Vietnam can satisfy these conditions, which raise the quality of investors as well as the sophistication of targets.

In 2019, Vietnam was up 10 places to 67th in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum. Vietnam was also the only country in Asean to move up in the Global Soft Power Index 2021, increasing three places to 47th out of 60 nations.


For M&A transaction disputes, both parties tend to choose arbitration for lower cost and faster resolution, because Vietnamese court litigation is still cumbersome and difficult for investors to use, especially where there are concerns of local bias.

Many M&A transactions choose the Singapore International Arbitration Centre as the dispute resolution forum. However, under Vietnam’s Civil Code, civil cases with a foreign element are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts if the cases involve rights over real property in Vietnam.

Decision 28/2020/QDKDTM-PT of the High People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City is an example of courts applying exclusive jurisdiction for M&A deals with target companies having property rights over immovable assets. In this case, the court invalidated a capital contribution agreement that aimed to transfer projects in contravention of the law. Accordingly, if parties resolve disputes at foreign arbitration that exclusively belong to Vietnamese courts, there is a risk that they cannot enforce the awards in Vietnam.


Like China, Vietnam has issued stricter regulations on bonds and foreign loans, resulting in liquidity problems for many Vietnamese companies, exacerbated by high interest rates. The sale of assets and properties, or even entire businesses, has been common in recent years, with more businesses falling into difficulties and lacking capital.

The overall trend is that M&A transactions have had lower deal values (exit values in Southeast Asia suffered a significant blow, declining by 46%) and tend to be driven by the seller’s liquidity needs, such as debt sales in the real estate sector and at banks.

Increasingly, businesses are relocating from China to Vietnam. In some cases, foreign investors see M&A as a faster way to enter the Vietnamese market than the normal business establishment process, not least because it avoids the hassle of obtaining new operational licences and permits.

Additionally, environmental, social, and governance reporting and compliance are becoming more important in Vietnam.

The Law on Investment includes a mechanism to reject extensions of projects that use obsolete, environmentally harmful technologies. A decree issued in 2022 will set requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pilot a domestic carbon credit market in the coming years, which will create revenue streams and value for companies focused on sustainability.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Tilleke & Gibbins

25/F, Viettel Tower A, Suite 2506

285 Cach Mang Thang Tam, District 10

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Contact details:
Tel: +84 28 628 45678