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

In 2019, 376 mergers were notified, a 7 per cent reduction compared to 2018. The reduction reversed the increasing trend in the number of notifications annually since 2014. Between 2015 and 2018, the average annual number of notifications was 367.

The number of simplified procedure transactions decreased slightly in 2019 to 296 from 310 in 2018. Between 2015 and 2018, the average number of such transactions per year was 267.[i]

In 2019, eight out of the 376 proposed mergers proceeded to phase II. Between 2015 and 2018, on average, there were nine such cases per year.

Between 2010 and 2019, the Commission rejected nine requests for the matter to be referred to the relevant national competition authority. Of these transactions, one was blocked, five were cleared with commitments, and three were cleared without commitments.

The number of notifications and phase II investigations fell in 2019,
but remained broadly consistent with trends since 2014.

Figure 2: Overview of Investigations 2010–2019

Overview of Investigations EU Merger Enforcement

Of the 376 notifications in 2019, 80 were non-simplified procedure transactions. This share has declined from 45 per cent in 2010 to 21 per cent in 2019.

In 2019, 10 per cent of non-simplified procedure transactions proceeded to phase II. In 2018, the corresponding share was 13 per cent.

The share of transactions that were not subject to a simplified procedure has halved since 2010.

Figure 3: Simplified and Non-simplified Procedure Transactions as a Share of Notifications 2010–2019

Simplified and NonSimplified Merger Procedure

Source: European Commission  Note: Year refers to the year the merger was notified. See Endnote 1 for details.

Figure 4: Phase II Investigations as a Share of Non-simplified Procedure Transactions 2010–2019

Phase II Investigations as a Share of Non-simplified Procedure Transactions 2010–2019

Source: European Commission  Note: Year refers to the year the merger was notified. See Endnote 1 for details.

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

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

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

 


[i]       In EC Notice No 2013/C 366/04, the Commission outlines the conditions under which it would consider transactions unlikely to create competition concerns, allowing a transaction to qualify for a simplified procedure (e.g., the parties have no vertical or horizontal overlap, horizontal overlap does not exceed 15 per cent market share, or the vertical overlap does not exceed 25 per cent). Effective from 1 January 2014, the Commission relaxed these conditions (e.g., the horizontal overlap does not exceed 20 per cent market share or the vertical overlap does not exceed 30 per cent). See https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_13_1214.

Copyright ©2020 Cornerstone ResearchNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 126

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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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