France: Foreign takeover of AI and data companies might require governmental approval

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced plans to introduce regulations requiring that any foreign takeover of French companies working in the field of data and artificial intelligence (AI) is first approved by the government. Current rules, adopted in 2014, provide that foreign companies have to seek for permission from the French authorities before taking over firms in the sectors of energy, transport, water, and health. According to Le Maire, adding data and AI to this list would be in line with economic trends and ensure better protection of personal data: ‘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.’