Once upon a time when financing was easy to come by and wild and wacky international takeovers were what got CEOs and their Boards - as well as their "facilitating" investment bankers - excited a noticeable protectionist wall began to appear. But what with the Supercycle, Goldilocks and Decoupling no one really got too upset. Money was too easy to stress, man.

Now, though, that wall is beginning to look uncomfortably robust.

China today blocked Coca Cola, 6 months after the deal was first submitted for approval to the regulators, from buying the domestic juice maker Huiyuan in a $2.4bn purchase. It would, said the Chinese, have a "negative influence on competition". Analyst views on that appear split.

A sweet irony of this deal is that French firm Groupe Danone owns 23% of Huiyuan and had given a supposed "irrevocable" undertaking to Coke to sell their share of the firm (as had the founder who owned 36%). Danone had been looking forward to banking the triple premium offered by Coke to last autumn's Huiyuan share price.

But live by the sword etc etc. It was, of course, Danone the-very-strategic-yogurt-maker who were prevented from falling into Pepsi's hands when then President Chirac and his Prime Minister de Villepin waved with vigour the "patriotisme économique" flag in 2005. Franck Riboud, the Danone CEO, went from being vilified for closing various French operations to being idolised in some quarters as some sort of economic Charles de Gaulle.

Admittedly it does not quite add up to Smoot-Hawley even in this economic context. And there are very legitimate concerns where "strategic" industries are concerned (have fun defining that one). But, as in 1930 when that legislation was passed, the political backdrop has hardened as the cycle bites back on the societal front.

Course, the deal might still go through - the final deadline is 23 March - if Coca Cola want to dilute the terms sufficiently. The Huiyuan share price, off 20% ahead of the block, is so far unconvinced.

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