Merger control: the French Competition Authority publishes new guidelines
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The Autorité de la concurrence maintained its objective of modernizing and simplifying the merger control system, initiated in 2017, with the publication and entry into force on July 24 of its revised guidelines. This document replaces the guidelines of July 4, 2013.
Following the simplification of the notification procedure and the possibility for companies to notify certain mergers online, these new guidelines provide a clear and comprehensive guide for parties involved in a concentration on the notification of qualifying transactions. application of French merger control rules.
The objectives of the overhaul: more visibility for companies
The purpose of the new guidelines is to provide guidance to companies on the scope of merger control, the notification procedure and the merger assessment by the Competition Authority.
The new presentation of the French merger control system takes into account the results of the public consultation which took place at the end of 2019 and incorporates the Authority’s decision-making practice and the development of case law since 2013.
The objective is to enable companies to anticipate the elements taken into consideration by the Authority in order to assess to what extent a concentration is notifiable under merger control rules and its potential impact on competition on the basis of criteria detailed therein.
These guidelines give the parties more visibility on the Authority’s control procedure by explaining in a very concrete way the actions they must take, the elements they must take into account and any constraints they could face. in the implementation of their project.
Important improvements: more efficiency in the notification process and its follow-ups
Prior to the merger notification, companies will now be able to request the appointment of a specific case team. Within five working days, the Autorité will notify the notifying party of the appointment of a deputy head of the merger control service who will be in charge of the file. This will allow them to start pre-ranking discussions more effectively.
Within ten days of the submission of the file, the Authority will inform the notifying parties if the notification file is complete and if the transaction can be examined under the simplified procedure.
The Autorité is also seeking to clarify certain aspects of the competitive assessment of mergers, in particular the time limit to be used for the prospective analysis.
The guidelines also include updated templates for structural commitments and fiduciary mandates, as well as clarifications on internal documents that may be requested by the Authority as part of the assessment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought on your particular situation.