The problem with Italy’s new golden share rules

Author: Gemma Varriale | Published: 13 Apr 2012

The Italian government has introduced a new law that, for the first time, sets out a comprehensive investment control regime in Italy. But the scheme is not perfect and changes still need to be made, according to lawyers in Italy.

The rules are contained in Italian Law Decree 21, which came into effect on March 16 2012.

"This is a very powerful instrument which I am confident to entrust to a government that will apply it sparingly, in line with market economy principles," said Giuseppe Scassellati-Sforzolini of Cleary Gottlieb in Rome. "Otherwise there is a risk of developing a 'my friends get in and my enemies don’t’ policy."

The new regime introduces a significant change in scope from what was in place before, applying to all companies, whether originally under public or private control.

It empowers the Italian government to veto the purchase of interests in...