On December 30, 2021, the Italian Government extended until the end of 2022 Italy’s emergency foreign direct investments (“FDI”) regime, which enables it to review also acquisitions of controlling stakes by European Economic Area (“EEA”) investors, as well as certain minority investments by non-EEA investors, in any strategic sector.
By contrast, under ordinary rules, these transactions would be reviewable only in the defense and national security sector.
This regime was initially introduced in April 2020 as part of certain CoViD-19 emergency measures, and was due to expire at the end of 2021 (after two extensions).
In parallel, the scope of the Italian FDI review was expanded as of January 2021 with the addition of a number of new strategic sectors.
The combination of the emergency regime and new strategic sectors has caused a dramatic increase in the number of transactions reviewed by the Government in 2020 and 2021; the same trend is expected to continue throughout 2022.
This memorandum provides an overview on the expanded scope of Italian FDI review, as well as the enforcement trends since the CoViD-19 outbreak.