In late January, the Commission finally published the non-confidential version of its decision in Unilever/Sara Lee Body Care (adopted in November 2010).  The decision, reached after a Phase II investigation, is notable because it marks the first time in many years where the Commission objects to a proposed merger on the basis of, among other…

Economics has an increasingly important role in merger assessment. Hardly anyone can imagine trying to build a solid major merger case anymore without paying at least some attention to the indirect evidence gained from analyzing the set of indicative economic factors of the case at hand. Whilst there are differences e.g. between different NCA’s and…

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has blocked two mergers in the past several months, in each case after filing a lawsuit against the merging parties.  The first case involved a relatively small transaction in the digital tax business involving H&R Block and 2nd Story Software. The second case was the high-profile proposed acquisition by…

“In appropriate cases, DG Competition may discuss in advance with the addressees or other affected parties the scope and the format of the Data Request. DG Competition may also explain the analysis that it intends to perform with the requested data in order to improve the efficiency of the data collecting process and to ensure…

Public discussion on merger control in the last few years of has put the spotlight on two elements of contemporary merger analysis: market definition and market concentration, of which the former has raised considerable debate, in particular. It has been asked if market definition has de facto become superfluous to merger analysis due to some…

On 13 September, the Commission published its decision of 31 March 2011 in China National Bluestar/Elkem. After DSM/Sinochem/JV (decision of 10 May but published in June), this was the second published decision which dealt in some detail with the question how to treat Chinese State-owned Enterprises or SOEs under the EUMR. The question has both…

On May 10, 2011, the FCO fined Interseroh in the amount of €206,000 for having implemented a concentration without merger approval. The decision is the second instance this year in which the FCO imposed a fine for implementing a merger without approval, and the second in which the FCO settled dissolution proceedings. Interestingly, it seems…

The case concerns the question under which conditions the possible future creation of potential competition can be considered to strengthen a dominant position under German merger control rules (see decision of December 22, 2010, VI-Kart 4/09 (V)). The FCO had prohibited a merger between two local publishers that were active in separate, but neighboring geographic…

The European Commission’s Phase II decision of 17 November 2010 concerning Syngenta’s acquisition of Monsanto’s sunflower seeds business raises a number of questions. First, it took the European authorities long to decide who should review the case. The transaction was signed in August 2009 – it did not have an EU dimension and was notifiable…

The fairness of EU competition policy has been frequently challenged in the 2000s. It has been argued that the European Commission discriminates against small market companies in its merger assessment. Discussion on the reasons of the alleged discrimination has frequently revolved around the Commission’s method of market delineation in its merger assessment, which would result…