The EU Court of Justice confirms that the national authorities can review ex post below-threshold mergers under abuse of dominance rules (Towercast)

The long-awaited European Court of Justice's judgment in Towercast confirmed that national competition authorities (and national courts) can apply abuse of dominance rules to mergers that did not trigger EU and national merger control thresholds, and were not referred to the European Commission under Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation. However, uncertainties still remain. Background The case follows a Paris Court of Appeal's request for a preliminary ruling on whether Article 21(1) of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) precludes the application of Article 102 to mergers that fall below the notification thresholds at national and EU level, and that have not been referred to the European Commission (EC) pursuant to Article 22 EUMR. Last October, AG Kokott suggested that Article 102 could

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