WASHINGTON (July 27, 2007) – President Bush yesterday signed into law the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007, which makes mandatory many of the measures adopted in practice by the Bush Administration to strengthen the U.S. government review of foreign acquisitions on national security grounds since the controversy surrounding the 2005 Dubai Ports case.
The Act, among other things, expands national security reviews of foreign acquisitions to encompass transactions involving homeland security and critical infrastructure, mandates investigations where U.S. firms are being sold to foreign-government controlled buyers, adds additional U.S. government agencies as players in the Exon-Florio process and enhances congressional notification and bolsters congressional oversight of the process. The changes will affect foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies dealing in infrastructure, energy, defense and other sensitive industries.
"The new law not only confirms a more robust national security review process for foreign acquisitions, it confirms a new era in U.S. foreign investment policy. As a consequence of this new approach already being implemented in practice by CFIUS, the United States no longer has a truly open investment environment for industries and businesses touching our critical infrastructure," said Jeffrey P. Bialos, a Partner in the Corporate Practice at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.
Mr. Bialos is extremely well-versed in the national security review of foreign acquisitions, having participated in more than 80 CFIUS reviews including most recently his representation of Smartmatic Corporation, a Venezuelan supplier of voting equipment used in U.S. elections, during their CFIUS review.
Mr. Bialos, who served has Deputy Under Secretary of Defense under former President Clinton, and participated in and managed the reviews of some of the most significant foreign acquisitions of U.S. defense firms and capabilities, including BAE System's acquisition of the AES/Sanders business from Lockheed Martin and the Raytheon/Thales joint venture. He has broad legal and government experience in aerospace, defense, homeland security, and national security matters, including mergers, acquisitions, antitrust, procurement, export controls, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He also advises clients on international commercial, trade, and public policy issues, including global navigation and timing systems and transactions in emerging markets.
Since 2006, Mr. Bialos has served as a member of a Defense Science Board Task Force examining the future of the U.S. defense industry, and previously served on a Task Force focused on the impact of export controls on the U.S. space industry. He is also a member of the Secure Commonwealth Panel, which oversees Virginia's homeland security policy planning.
Mr. Bialos is available to comment in detail on the new legislation and how the business community will need to take the new more robust CFIUS review process into account in their business planning, execution of acquisitions and post-acquisition compliance with possible mitigation agreements entered into with CIFUS. He also can comment on the implications of the new law for our international trade and investment policy. He can be reached directly at 202.383.0363 or email@example.com.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 450 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington. For further information about the firm, please visit sutherland.com.