Mergers and competition : EU and French perspectives

Dinner organised by Concurrences Review with keynote speaker Carles Esteva Mosso, in partnership with White & Case and Compass Lexecon.

Introduction by Yann Utzschneider

The Altice cases have shown that there is now a real need on the business side to clarify the rules of the game with regard to mergers and acquisitions. Despite the Competition Authority’s interpretation efforts to "decode" the Altice case, these operations remain complicated for legal practitioners, particularly as regards the exchange of information.

Tonight, it is important to mention the EY/KPMG case and the approach put forward by Advocate General Nils Wahl. His approach is interesting in that it distinguishes between certain measures, which can be taken by companies without risking breaching the suspension obligation under Article 7 of the Regulation, and "enforcement measures" leading to a concentration.

The second topic to be discussed at this dinner is the information to be provided to the Commission. On this subject, we have had the Facebook/Whatsapp case on inaccurate or misleading information. In addition, the Commission has circulated a working document on "Best Practices on the conduct of EC merger control proceedings". The aim of this guide is to promote cooperation between the Commission and the parties at the earliest possible stage of the procedure. However, the Guide may be binding, to the extent that it requires, for example, the communication of entire chains of e-mails or the communication of documents covered by legal priviledge. Won’t these developments make M&A transactions more cumbersome?

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet

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  • Compass Lexecon (Paris)
  • White & Case (Paris)
  • Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
  • Positive Competition (Brussels)