ARTICLE: EUROPEAN UNION - MERGER CONTROL - MINORITY SHAREHOLDINGS - EXCLUSIVE CONTROL - COMMON OWNERSHIP

Merger control - Assessment of minority shareholdings by the European Commission: From standard solutions to avant-garde theses

In 2017, the European Commission examined several industrial and commercial minority shareholdings that a company may hold in another, and found either that there was exclusive de facto control, even where there was no certainty that the shareholder would have a majority at the general meeting, or that there were unilateral anticompetitive effects. In addition to these classic cases, the Commission also, for the first time, looked at financial minority shareholdings where several companies have minority shareholders in common. When reviewing the Dow / DuPont transaction, it considered incidentally that the presence of the same investors in the capital of large companies in the sector concerned would reduce the companies’ incentive to compete with each other through innovation. Since then, the Commissioner Mrs Vestager has confirmed that this subject is ’a hot topic’ which is currently under scrutiny by her department. As the situation currently stands, however, this new theory concerning ’common ownership’, as applied in Dow / DuPont, leaves many questions unanswered.

1. Plusieurs motifs peuvent conduire une entreprise à acquérir une participation minoritaire dans une société tierce. Il peut s’agir de renforcer des relations commerciales, de sceller un partenariat permettant par exemple de pénétrer un nouveau marché ou de développer ensemble un nouveau produit, d’effectuer un premier pas vers une éventuelle prise de contrôle exclusif, voire de prendre immédiatement le contrôle de cette entreprise lorsque le contexte le permet. Il peut aussi s’agir d’un placement financier. 2. On se rappelle que le contrôle des participations minoritaires a fait l’objet de débats nourris au début des années 2010, provoqués par la tentative d’offre publique de Ryanair sur Aer Lingus en 2006. À l’échelle européenne, comme d’ailleurs dans tous les États membres à l’exception de l’Allemagne,

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers

Already Subscribed? Sign-in

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers.

Read one article for free

Sign-up to read this article for free and discover our services.

 

PDF Version

Authors

Quotation

Marie-Cecile Rameau, Yelena Trifounovitch, Merger control - Assessment of minority shareholdings by the European Commission: From standard solutions to avant-garde theses, May 2018, Concurrences Review N° 2-2018, Art. N° 86620, pp. 50-59

Visites 601

All reviews