Foreign Investment 2020 (Part 4): Who’s In, Who’s Out, and Why It Matters

Morrison & Foerster LLP

This is the fourth in our multipart series of alerts addressing proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2019, for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA).

One of the most anticipated changes in FIRRMA is the concept of a “white list” of investors exempted from certain aspects of CFIUS’s foreign investment review jurisdiction. Another prominent feature of FIRRMA is the heightened CFIUS scrutiny on foreign government-owned investors, which left many wondering what this will mean for the viability of future investments in which a foreign government has an interest. The proposed regulations address both of these concepts and provide some initial answers, while raising several new questions for investors and U.S. businesses about which deals will get a green light in 2020, and which will need to hit the brakes.

The key takeaways regarding how different investors will be treated under the proposed regulations are:

  • A Narrow Exception for Foreign Investors: The “excepted foreign investor” provisions of the proposed regulations are narrow and complex. The exception exempts certain investors from CFIUS’s expanded jurisdiction to review non-controlling investments in “TID U.S. businesses” – business involving critical technologies, critical infrastructure, or sensitive personal data – and in certain covered real estate.
  • Mandatory Filings for Transactions Involving Government-Owned Investors: The only new mandatory CFIUS filing requirement included in the proposed regulations is for transactions where an investor in which a foreign government has a “substantial interest” will obtain a “substantial interest” in a TID U.S. business. Because all parties to a transaction are responsible for complying with these mandatory filing requirements, this will require increased diligence on the part of both the investor and the U.S. business.
  • Additional Clarification for Investment Funds: The proposed regulations extend to all investments in TID U.S. businesses the “clarification” for investment funds that was included in the critical technologies pilot program regulations. Under this clarification, an indirect investment by a foreign person as a limited partner in an investment fund will not be considered a “covered investment” under the new regulations as long as certain additional requirements are satisfied with respect to the management of the fund and limitations on its foreign limited partners’ access to portfolio companies.
  • Expanded Scope of the “U.S. Business” Definition: The current CFIUS definition of a “U.S. business” is an entity engaged in U.S. interstate commerce – but “only to the extent” of its activities in U.S. interstate commerce. In practice, this “only to the extent” caveat has done little to restrict the potential for CFIUS reviews to have an extraterritorial impact. As directed by FIRRMA, the proposed regulations remove this caveat altogether, so that, going forward, a U.S. business for CFIUS purposes will include any entity engaged in U.S. interstate commerce, regardless of its place of organization or the nationality of its owners.

The “White List”: Excepted Investors Under the Proposed Regulations

As discussed in Part 3 of this series, the proposed regulations address CFIUS’s expanded jurisdiction under FIRRMA to review certain “covered investments” – foreign investments that do not result in “control” of the target U.S. business, but afford the foreign investor certain rights with respect to U.S. businesses involving critical technologies, critical infrastructure, and sensitive personal data (so-called “TID U.S. businesses”). However, FIRRMA also included a key counterbalance to this expanded jurisdiction: a requirement that CFIUS also prescribe regulations that limit this covered investment jurisdiction to investments by certain categories of foreign persons.

The proposed regulations address this mandate through a list of “excepted foreign states” identified by the CFIUS Chairperson with the agreement of two-thirds of the voting members of CFIUS.[1] The final regulations are expected to include an initial list of such excepted foreign states, which will be updated from time to time. Starting two years after the effective date of the new regulations, the CFIUS Chairperson, with agreement of two-thirds of the voting CFIUS members, must also determine that foreign states on this list have established and are effectively using a “robust process to analyze foreign investments for national security risks and to facilitate coordination with the United States on matters relating to investment security.” CFIUS can rescind such a determination at any time. In other words, to stay on this excepted list, foreign states must demonstrate that they will be reliable partners with CFIUS and the U.S. government when it comes to both national security and international trade policy goals.

To be an “excepted investor,” a foreign investor must be either (1) a foreign national of an excepted foreign state, and not also a national of a non-excepted foreign state, (2) a foreign government of an excepted foreign state, or (3) an entity that is organized under the laws of and has its principal place of business in an excepted foreign state or the United States, and meets several additional conditions relating to its governance, ownership, and control with respect to other persons and entities from an excepted foreign state or the United States.

Among the conditions that an “excepted investor” entity must meet is a “minimum excepted ownership.” The rules vary depending on whether the investor is publicly traded on an exchange in the United States or a foreign excepted state. However, this generally means that a majority (or 90%, in the case of entities not publicly traded on such exchanges) of the investor’s voting interest, the right to a majority of its profits, and the right in the event of a dissolution to a majority of its assets must be held, individually or in the aggregate, by persons who are (i) not a foreign person, (ii) nationals of an excepted foreign state, and not also nationals of a non‑excepted foreign state, (iii) a foreign government of an excepted foreign state, or (iv) entities organized under the laws of an excepted foreign state with their principal places of business in an excepted foreign state or the United States.

The excepted investor provisions in the new regulations should provide some relief to foreign investors that qualify, but they will also require careful consideration when the initial list of excepted foreign states is released. For investment funds or similar entities in which multiple foreign investors are involved, the excepted investor provisions will also be a key factor to consider when structuring both the transaction and the fund itself.

The Other Side of the Coin: Mandatory Filing Requirement for Certain Transactions Involving Foreign Government-Controlled Investors

Prior to the release of the proposed regulations, there was much concern about the potential for mandatory CFIUS filing requirements in addition to those already included in the critical technologies pilot program. In fact, the proposed regulations only include one additional category of transactions that will be subject to a mandatory filing requirement: investments by certain foreign government-controlled investors in TID U.S. businesses. However, this requirement promises to have a significant impact on certain types of investments going forward, particularly because it will require careful analysis on the part of both the investor and the U.S. business to determine whether they will be subject to these new rules.

The new mandatory filing requirement applies to all CFIUS covered transactions that would result in the acquisition of a “substantial interest” in a TID U.S. business by a foreign person in which a foreign government has a “substantial interest.” This requirement is particularly complex because the threshold for “substantial interest” is different in various contexts. In terms of an interest in a U.S. business by a foreign person, a substantial interest means a voting interest, direct or indirect, or 25% or more. In terms of an interest by a foreign government in a foreign person, a substantial interest means a voting interest, direct or indirect, of 49% or more.

To meet this mandatory filing requirement, the parties must, at a minimum, submit a declaration (a short-form notice now available only under the critical technologies pilot program, but which will be available for all transactions) to CFIUS at least 30 days before closing the transaction. The proposed regulations include an important clarification that, notwithstanding this 30-day requirement, the parties may close a transaction subject to the mandatory declaration requirement at any time after having been informed by CFIUS that it has either cleared the transaction or is not able to complete action on the basis of the declaration alone. As with the pilot program, parties subject to this mandatory filing requirement may submit a full written notice to CFIUS instead of a declaration. Parties that fail to meet these mandatory filing requirements may be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $250,000 per violation or the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.

This new mandatory filing requirement makes it even more important for parties to a transaction to know the investor(s) involved and all of the entities in their ownership chains, including their relationships with foreign governments. At the same time, these new rules also require a close examination of the target U.S. business to determine whether or not it qualifies as a TID U.S. business, and, if so, whether the circumstances of the transaction cause it to be either a covered control transaction or a covered investment under the new CFIUS regulations. One area of ambiguity is the extent to which CFIUS will presume government ownership in cases where the foreign investment is from countries like China, where there is no consensus on the lines between state-owned and private enterprises. Now, more than ever, investors and companies will benefit from the advice of experienced CFIUS counsel to help them navigate these challenging issues.

****

MoFo will publish additional articles providing practical guidance for clients as these proposed CFIUS regulations are finalized, and as accompanying regulations are released, including the Department of Commerce’s regulations implementing the Export Control Reform Act of 2018.


[1] Currently, there are nine voting members of CFIUS: the heads of the Department of the Treasury, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Energy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy. The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor are non-voting CFIUS members.

[View source.]

Written by:

Morrison & Foerster LLP
Contact
more
less

Morrison & Foerster LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.