The European Antitrust Review 2016

European Union: Merger Control

EU merger control in 2014/5: business as usual? Over the last full year (2013–2014) of Joaquín Almunia’s term as Competition Commissioner we saw several trends: the use of the failing firm defence to clear two Phase II mergers; the continued use of complex remedy packages at Phase II; and merger prohibitions when commitments offered by parties failed to address the European Commission’s (the Commission) concerns. We also saw a series of ‘4 to 3’ mergers in the telecoms sector – as well as increased merger activity in the wider TMT sector – and the Commission taking a tougher stance against suspected procedural infringements. Finally, there were a number of merger reforms: the simplification package which was designed to simplify and streamline EU merger control procedures; and a consultation on changes to the EU Merger Regulation1 (EUMR), including the possibility of extending the EUMR to cover non-controlling minority shareholdings.

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