EU merger control regime
The European Commission broadens its policy for Member State referrals under Article 22 EUMR
The European Commission (EC) has recently announced a change in policy to its referral system to bolster the circumstances in which it will accept referral requests from Member States under Article 22 EUMR. In particular, the EC is encouraging national competition authorities to use the referral mechanism even where transactions do not meet the national merger control thresholds of the referring Member States.
Despite the EC's announcement being largely directed at addressing its increasing drive to review so-called “killer acquisitions”, it will make it more difficult for all businesses to assess whether their transactions may ultimately be subject to a merger investigation by the EC.
With the UK Competition and Markets Authority also having broad powers to open merger investigations for non-notified transactions, there is an increased risk of non-notified transactions being called in for a concurrent review by both the EC and the UK Competition and Markets Authority following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
Read more about this policy change and practical steps that can be taken to reduce deal uncertainty here.