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Focus on Regulation

Tag Archives: merger control

FCC Commissioners Debate Adjustments to Merger Review Standard

In the first major transaction approval under Ajit Pai’s Chairmanship, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently approved, subject to targeted, transaction-specific conditions, license and authorization transfers in connection with CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3.  The FCC’s recitation of its merger review standard in its order (the “CenturyLink-Level 3 Order”) differed somewhat from the description

Digital is trump! – Market definition and new dominance criteria for digital markets

Digital is trump! – Market definition and new dominance criteria for digital markets
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law. The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.

The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and companies with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape the competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years.

Mind the gap – New Size-of-Transaction Test in German merger control

On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law (please see the highlights of the 9th amendment of the ARC here). The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations, please see here) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.

The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years. Many questions remain open, especially in the practical handling of the newly introduced size-of-transaction test in German merger control. This will lead to an increased need for coordination between companies and the Federal Cartel Office (FCO).

Green Book regarding the Amendment of German Competition Law and FCO Paper on “Market Power of Platforms and Networks”: Preparing Competition Law for Digital Markets

The Green Book for digital platforms recommends changes to the German Act against Restraints of Competition. In particular, thresholds for merger control proceedings shall be adapted so that even companies with small turnover figures would be subject to German merger control as long as a certain transaction value will be met. Furthermore, even though a platform use is free it can still constitute a market under competition law terms.

German Federal Government intends a strengthening of merger control for the sale of start-ups

In June 2015 Microsoft paid between EUR 100-200 million for the relatively unknown “6Wunderkinder GmbH” – a company which generates its revenue primarily through the operation of “Wunderlist”, a to-do list app. This acquisition is an example of the current practice of start-up acquisitions by estab-lished “big players”. Due to their low turnover, companies like 6Wunderkinder are not subject to German merger control. The “2016 Annual Economic Report” shows that the Federal Government wants to introduce an additional threshold within the scope of the 9th amendment to ARC (German: GWB).

COMESA – New Pan-African Merger Control Regime

On 14 January 2013, the Competition Commission for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (“COMESA”) became operational. This creates a new supranational merger control regime in Africa which companies will now have to navigate. The new regime contains a number of potentially significant issues for dealmakers, including broad jurisdictional thresholds with extensive reach