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Craig Foss

3 December, 2012

Lowball share offer regulations in force

Commerce Minister Craig Foss has welcomed new regulations to help rein in unsolicited share offers and protect shareholders.

"Unsolicited or ‘low ball’ offers are a predatory tactic that damages the health and confidence of our capital markets," says Mr Foss.

Lowball offers are unsolicited approaches to shareholders offering to buy their shares or other securities. Offer letters put pressure on people to sell their shares quickly, often with little information and using unconventional business practices.

"The new regulations will require greater disclosure requirements from a person or company that makes an offer, and introduce stronger rights and remedies for shareholders," says Mr Foss.

A person who does not comply with an order made by the Financial Markets Authority commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $30,000.

"The new regulations will help rein in these unsolicited offers, protect shareholders and contribute to growing confidence in our capital markets,” says Mr Foss.

The regulations include:

  • Setting minimum information requirements including stating the market price or a fair estimate of the value of the shares.
  • Specifying a minimum offer period and a cancellation period.

The regulations can be found at: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2012/0331/latest/DLM4817557.html