Unfinished regulations delay China M&A.

At the end of last year, it seemed like a new dawn. Eight months later, it is still midnight for foreign investors interested in M&A.

At the end of 2002, in a move that seemed to give a Christmas present to foreign investors, the Chinese government came out with legislation opening up all classes of listed and non-listed Chinese shares to foreign mergers and acquisition.

Allowing the previously jealously guarded State-owned shares of listed companies to be made available to foreign investors was groundbreaking, says Stella Leung, a partner at law firm O'Melveny and Myers.

The document that came out in November 2002 promised that the non-tradable legal person and state shares the former owned by state entities, such as other SOEs, and the latter by the government ministries would be made available to foreign...

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