The cross-sectoral FDI screening regime applies only to acquisitions by non-EU/EFTA investors but covers a broad range of industry sectors.
If the German target company operates in critical infrastructure or is active in certain other sensitive areas, the foreign investor must notify the BMWK in the event of an initial acquisition of 10% or more of the voting rights and each time the investor reaches or surpasses 20%, 25%, 40%, 50% and 75% of the voting rights in (indirect) subsequent acquisitions. Critical infrastructure is defined as activities in the energy, water, IT and telecommunication, financial and insurance, healthcare, transport and food sectors that are of high importance for the functioning of society.
German FDI law defines additional areas as relevant to security, e.g., the production of certain medical products and pharmaceuticals, the development of certain AI applications, autonomous vehicles, certain robotics, semiconductors, quantum technology, cybersecurity products and aerospace. In these areas, a foreign investor must notify the BMWK in the event of an initial (indirect) acquisition of 20% of the voting rights in the German company and each time the investor reaches or surpasses 25%, 40%, 50% and 75% of the voting rights in (indirect) subsequent acquisitions.
Beyond these sectors, there is no notification requirement for investors. However, the BMWK may review ex officio any (indirect) foreign investment as of 25% of the voting rights in any domestic company. In such cases, the parties to an envisaged transaction may apply to the BMWK for a so-called certificate of non-objection. This may also be useful if it cannot be ruled out with sufficient certainty that the German target company is active in a sensitive or security-relevant area triggering a mandatory filing.