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Alternative Market Briefing

Other Voices: UK private equity: horizon scanning for 2021

Monday, November 30, 2020

By: Simon Beddow and Ian Ivory, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

In a year dominated by the pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of some of the more granular legal developments and trends coming over the horizon for 2021 which, in their own ways, can also have a significant impact on the UK/EU private equity & investment community as well as the underlying businesses they invest into and divest from. Here are some of the main ones to watch out for in 2021.

Potential data breaches lurking within target companies are a big issue and the consequences of this can be both expensive and also damaging to business reputation.

The role of data and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance in M&A transactions has grown significantly since the GDPR's arrival in 2018. The expanded obligations and liabilities (with administrative fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million whichever is the greater) and the heightened risk environment means that data issues can be a "deal blocker" if they are not dealt with in a timely and effective way. Data protection authorities are willing to issue substantial fines, e.g. £18.4m against Marriott (UK), €50m against Google (France) and €33m against H&M (Germany). Further, the prospect of "class actions" by affected individuals is on the rise in the UK, with claimant classes being built against British Airways and others.

In addition to this, when dealing with insolvent sellers challenging data issues often arise from ......................

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