The European Antitrust Review 2010

Germany: Merger Control

01 September 2009

Germany has a long-standing tradition of merger control enforcement. A considerable number of cases are brought before the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) for merger control purposes every year. The high number of cases can at least partly be attributed to two peculiarities of the German merger control system: first, not only the acquisition of control but also the acquisition of 25 per cent of the shares or voting rights is subject to merger control review. Even the acquisition of a minority shareholding of less than 25 per cent may be subject to control. Second, the turnover thresholds of German merger control are relatively low, even after a recent reform finally introduced a second domestic turnover threshold: the turnover thresholds can already be met in cases where the target (or the acquirer) has a turnover in Germany of only €5 million.