The Lithuanian Competition Authority announces that merger review might be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak making data collection from market participants more difficult

EXAMINATION OF MERGERS MAY LAST LONGER*

As companies have temporarily suspended their business operations due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Konkurencijos taryba is struggling to receive information from businesses and informs companies that it may take longer than usual to implement the activities ascribed to it by the laws, especially merger control.

Konkurencijos taryba is asking companies and their lawyers to take into account that, as a result of quarantine, it has become more difficult for the authority to collect from market participants information, which is used to evaluate antitrust complaints and examine notifications of concentrations. Some companies already reported their inability to provide information due to the lockdown and asked to postpone the deadlines for the provision of information until the quarantine is over.

Konkurencijos taryba notes that its ability to postpone the deadlines is limited by the laws, especially in merger control procedures. According to the authority, failure to collect information in time when evaluating the competitive effect of a merger may significantly impede the effectiveness of a merger examination procedure.

When examining a merger, Konkurencijos taryba aims to evaluate whether the intended merger would create or strengthen the dominant position, or significantly restrict competition in the relevant markets. In some cases such examination encompasses a detailed market analysis which is conducted by interviewing the market participants, competitors, buyers and suppliers. During the examination of a merger the authority also assesses the impact of a merger on the relevant markets, including the assessment of a market structure, buyer power, potential firm‘s ability to enter the market, etc.

Since the authority can start the examination of a merger only when it complies with legal requirements, companies which are planning to notify their concentrations should carefully evaluate whether they will be able to ensure their proper involvement in the merger examination process.

Konkurencijos taryba is ready to deal with those cases which companies are not able to postpone without delay, however, the authority asks businesses to pay considerable attention to any difficulties that may arise, especially in situations which may lead to an in-depth review and require additional resources.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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Lithuanian Competition Authority, The Lithuanian Competition Authority announces that merger review might be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak making data collection from market participants more difficult, 14 April 2020, e-Competitions Competition Law & Covid-19, Art. N° 94263

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