On May 22, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs voted unanimously to approve the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 ("FIRRMA"), which would strengthen federal authority to review inbound and outbound business transactions by U.S. and foreign companies.
The Senate Committee's approval comes after the deletion of provisions that would have given CFIUS authority to review a wide array of cross-border joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. U.S. and foreign companies opposed prior versions of the bill on grounds that it would trigger thousands of review processes on non-sensitive transactions and cause a slowdown of M&A activity. A new version of the bill released on May 11, 2018 clarifies that an interagency process headed by the Department of Commerce—not CFIUS—will have oversight of outbound investment through existing but strengthened export controls.
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