EC sets out changes to merger and acquisition regs

11 December 2002 18:48  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission (EC) announced on Wednesday a series of wide ranging changes to the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) regulatory process which may have implications for takeovers in the chemical sector.

Among the changes the Commission wants to see is more weight given to the views of merging companies.

Changes have yet to gain approval from Council Ministers and the European Parliament but a modified Merger Regulation is expected to come into force on 1 May 2004.

A move towards a more flexible time period for notifying the Commission of proposed mergers is also on the list of changes.

This flexibility, said the Commission, could be gained by abolishing the requirement, which exists in the 1989 Merger Regulation, that transactions are reported within a week of their conclusion. Another way would be to allow notifications before the conclusion of a binding agreement.

Other proposed changes include:

  • Clarification of the situations which require regulation, such as in oligopolies giving rise to competition problems.
  • A simplification of the present system of referral of merger cases from the Commission to member state competition authorities for investigation, and vice versa.
  • Strengthening of the Commission’s fact-finding powers with higher fines.

The Commission said at the height of the recent merger boom in 2001, the total number of merger notifications reached 335. For 2002, the figure is likely to be around 270.

By: Glenda Thisdell
+44 20 8652 3214

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