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Length of Investigations: An Excerpt from Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at the European Commission

In 2019, on average, a phase I investigation lasted:

  • 19 business days when under a simplified procedure;
  • 27 days when under a non-simplified procedure;
  • 38 days when the transaction was cleared in phase I with commitments; and
  • 27 days before proceeding to phase II.

Since 2010, the average length of a phase I investigation under a simplified procedure has fallen by 18 per cent.

  • Between 2010 and 2019:
  • The average length of a phase I investigation under a simplified procedure declined. From 2010 to 2013, a decision under a simplified procedure took 22 business days on average. After the change in merger regulations, from 2014 to 2019, the average number of days dropped by almost 15 per cent to 19 days.

The number of days taken for a phase I decision when under a non-simplified procedure remained stable: on average, the Commission reached a decision in 28 business days. A phase I clearance with commitments came after 37 business days, on average, with some variation across the years.

Figure 12: Length of Investigations for Cases in Phase I 2010–2019

Length of Investigations

Source: European Commission

Note: Year refers to the year the merger was notified. See Endnote 1 for details. The figure excludes cases that were notified, but were pending a phase I decision as of 30 January 2020.

Between 2010 and 2019:

  • A phase II investigation was initiated after 30 business days, on average, with some variation across the years. Since the change in merger regulations in 2014, the average number of days dropped from 31 to 29 days.
  • On average, an investigation that resulted in a phase II clearance lasted 139 days if there were no commitments, and 154 days if there were commitments.

Between 2010 and 2019, a phase II clearance took an average of 15 days longer with commitments than without commitments.

Figure 13: Length of Investigations for Cases That Proceed to Phase II 2010–2019

Length of Investigations

Source: European Commission

Note: Year refers to the year the merger was notified. See Endnote 1 for details. The figures above the bars correspond to the number of notified transactions in each category. The length of investigation is measured as the average number of business days between notification and a final decision, such that it includes time spent in phase I. The figure excludes cases that were notified, but were pending a phase II decision as of 30 January 2020.

 

Read Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at the European Commission.

Read Overview of Merger Investigations: An Excerpt from Merger Enforcement at the European Commission

Read Review Process and Outcomes by Industry: An Excerpt from Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at the European Commission.

Copyright ©2020 Cornerstone Research

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About this Author

Peter Davis Cornerstone Research

Peter Davis leads Cornerstone Research’s European competition practice and is head of the firm’s London office. Dr. Davis is an expert in competition economics and econometrics, focusing on cartel damages, merger inquiries, and market investigations (sector inquiries). He has provided expert testimony in matters before the High Court of England and Wales, the Directorate-General (DG) for Competition, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the Financial Conduct Authority. Dr. Davis has also consulted on cases in China, the Netherlands, and South Africa. His work spans a range...

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