Global Legal Group recently published the 11th edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Merger Control 2015. Akin Gump lawyers Davina Garrod and Jennifer Harvey contributed to the publication by authoring a chapter entitled “EU Merger Control Reform: Expanding Jurisdiction to Capture Minority Shareholding Acquisitions."
This is an important development that has come to the forefront of merger control issues. As Margrethe Vestager’s position as Commissioner for Competition has now been confirmed, she will decide whether the EU Commission (“Commission”) moves forward with the proposals to reform the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”). A decade since the last major overhaul of the EUMR, Commissioner Almunia initiated the reform last summer with a public consultation. The most controversial proposal was a potential extension of the EUMR to include jurisdiction to review non-controlling minority interests. The proposals for reform at the time were rather vague.
One year on, the Commission has published a White Paper covering those proposals in more detail, and with a narrower focus on a particular regime proposal: the “targeted transparency system”. The deadline for responses was 3 October 2014. The refined proposals contained in the White Paper come amidst continued opposition from businesses and the investor community, and are of particular concern to investors acquiring minority shareholdings in businesses active on the same or closely related markets, and to firms acquiring minority interests in joint ventures or other strategic alliances. Depending upon consultation feedback, the Commission may put forward a legislative proposal to revise the EUMR as early as next year, with entry into force in 2016/2017.
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