04:50 PM

France Might Vet Acquisitions of AI, Data Protection Firms

Finance minister says country may add artificial intelligence and data security to list of nation's strategically important, regulated sectors

France may deem artificial intelligence and data protection firms strategically important to the country - a move that could enable the government to block foreign takeovers of French companies in those industries, French foreign minister Bruno LaMaire said Friday.  

As Reuters reports, a decree made in 2014 already requires foreign companies to get permission from the French state before taking control of firms in the energy, telecoms, transport, water and health sectors. 

From Reuters:

"I think that when you look at current economic trends, there’s a certain number of sectors that could be added to this decree," Le Maire said on BFM TV.

"I'm thinking of everything dealing with personal data. Do we really want investors to market our data? I'm thinking about artificial intelligence, a very sensitive sector that we want more investment in," he added.

Meanwhile, a French company is proceeding with its own takeover of a foreign data protection company: French security firm Thales and Amsterdam-based Gemalto released a joint statement Thursday stating that Thales' 4.8 billion EUR cash acquisition of Gemalto, first announced last month, is expected to close in the second half of 2018.  

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