The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday approved regulations that relax restrictions on written communications during tender offers and mergers, among other things.

The regulations, effective in January, will have a positive impact on banking companies that agree to merge, but a negative one those that are hostile takeover targets, said David F. Scranton, a senior banking partner with Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young of Philadelphia. It "gives more power to the offeror to sell the idea directly to shareholders," he said.

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