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What does Unilever’s relocation to the Netherlands tell us about the state of the UK corporate governance regime?

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Unilever’s recent announcement of the decision to abandon its model of having dual headquarters in London and Rotterdam in favour of a single location in Rotterdam was seen by many as a symbolic blow to the UK’s attractiveness to international businesses in the wake of the Brexit vote. Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman and the UK Government however, are adamant that the decision was not related to Brexit. So, if not Brexit, what were the key factors in the decision to abandon the existing model, which Unilever adopted in 1929 following the merger of Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie?

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EU State Aid and EMI share options

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EMI schemes

It is not commonly understood that the EMI tax regime is subject to the EU State Aid rules. HMRC published a Bulletin on 4th April with an update for companies operating EMI option plans. It is particularly relevant for those companies proposing to grant EMI options in the near future.

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Supreme Court of India grants foreign lawyers ‘fly in and fly out’ licence to practice

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India has long been protective about opening up its legal industry to foreign practitioners. The question of whether foreign law firms or lawyers can practice in India was left in limbo until it was considered in March 2018 by the Supreme Court of India following an appeal by the Bar Council of India of the decision of the Madras High Court in February 2012 and by the ‘Global Indian Lawyers’ organisation of the decision of the High Court in Bombay in December 2009.

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Beneficial ownership register of overseas companies will go live in early 2021

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Great news for all banks lending to overseas companies who wish to purchase property in the UK – the UK Government has confirmed this week that the beneficial ownership register of overseas companies will go live in early 2021. The plan to set up the register has been under discussion for some time, this will be the world’s first public register of this kind.

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The GDPR and retention

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Contributing authors: Kate Benefer

In the third blog in our series on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) we explore the issue of data retention under the GDPR.

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Carillion’s collapse – a corporate governance failure?

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Financial investigation

Following Carillion, the second largest construction firm in the UK, and employer of 43,000 people, entering compulsory liquidation on Monday the government has ordered a fast-track investigation into the conduct of its directors.

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Business succession: do you have an exit strategy?

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Exiting a business

Many entrepreneurs devote a vast amount of time and resource to developing their business. It’s difficult to find the time to think about an exit strategy when you are busy dealing with the day-to-day management of your business.

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Tech City: top 3 legal issues start-ups should consider at the outset

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Tech start-up

Ivelina Morris in our Corporate & Commercial team in London gets to see the latest developments in the Tech City community and reflects on the top 3 legal issues start-ups should consider at the outset.

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Considering investing in the UK? Top legal tips for investors

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invest in uk

According to the office of national statistics the UK attracted 1,144 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects last year, an increase of 7% on 2015.

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New changes to the PSC requirements which affects UK companies and LLPs

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Man holding file in front of wall of shelves full of ring binders

It’s been over a year since UK companies and LLPs have been required to keep a Register of Persons with Significant Control (PSC Register). Since the rules came into force, all companies and LLPs should have been through the process of identifying their PSCs, drafting their PSC Register and notifying Companies House accordingly. However, recent changes to the notification requirement means that you may need to revisit this process again.

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Brexit – assessing the impact on your commercial contracts

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Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed the UK Government’s intention to trigger the formal EU withdrawal process before the end of March 2017. May has also announced that all EU laws will initially become part of UK law, under a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ to be introduced in the next Queen’s Speech in April/May 2017.

The future changes to the overall legal landscape and the commercial environment as a result of Brexit could affect the substantive contractual obligations and commercial bargain between parties. Here are our recommendations to help you prepare for and manage the impact of Brexit on existing and new contracts.

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What’s in store for South West M&A

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Amid continued economic uncertainty, news that 2016 proved to be the busiest year by deal volume in the last decade serves as a timely reminder of the resilience of the South West deal market. The number of deals completed rose by 4%, according to Experian’s latest analysis of the M&A market, marking a sixth consecutive year of growth. Here I will explore our Corporate & Commercial team’s recent experience in the market and our expectations for 2017.

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