The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), a multiagency US regulatory body empowered to review transactions involving a foreign person and a US business that may affect US national security, delivered its Annual Report to Congress for the calendar year 2012 (“Report”) in December 2013. Some of the notable key data points are:
- In 2012, 114 CFIUS notices were filed and determined to describe “covered transactions,” or transactions within CFIUS’s regulatory review. This number represents a modest increase in filings as compared to the 111 such notices filed in 2011.
- Transaction notices involved a wide range of industrial subsectors. The greatest number of filings in 2012 occurred in the manufacturing sector, followed by the finance, information and services sectors.
- Prospective acquirers from 21 different countries have filed transaction notices. The five countries accounted for the highest number of notices are:
- China (23)
- United Kingdom (17)
- Canada (13)
- Japan (9)
- France (8)
There was a significant increase from 2012 in notices filed from China. In 2011, only ten transaction notices were filed by prospective acquirers from China.
We should note that a number of high profile transactions in 2013 involving Chinese acquirers, despite Congressional concerns, received approvals from CFIUS, and these include the US$15 billion acquisition by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, a Chinese state-owned corporation, of the Canadian oil company, Nexen, which had deep-water well leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and the US$4.7 billion acquisition by the Hong Kong-based company Shuanghui, owner of many food and logistics businesses, of the Virginia-based company and largest hog producer, Smithfield.