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BME shares fall after Spain to block foreign takeovers of strategic companies

MADRID, March 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Spain's BME, which is the takeover target of Swiss rival market operator SIX, fell on Tuesday after Spain unveiled a plan to block foreign acquisitions of "strategic" companies as part of a package to mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

"We are going to block foreign companies from taking control of strategic Spanish companies taking advantage the share price collapse," Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday, as he announced a 200 billion package to help Spanish companies and workers weather the crisis.

BME shares were falling 6.7% on Tuesday afternoon after Sanchez's comments, contrasting with Spain's Ibex 35 index which was up by more than 5%.

It was not immediately clear how or whether the measure would affect the current takeover bid made by SIX on BME.

A spokesman for BME was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting By Jesús Aguado, Editing by Inti Landauro)