Sanction for failure to notify a merger

Antitrust Procedure Workshop organized by Concurrences in partnership with Gide Loyrette Nouel.

1. The power to sanction for failure to notify, general presentation

The obligation to notify is not a mere administrative formality. It must enable the Authority to verify any possible infringement of competition and to impose appropriate remedies.

David Bosco

The question of penalties for failure to notify is indicative of major trends in French and European merger control systems. In both cases, an a priori control system was chosen. The whole edifice rests on this choice: to evoke notification, or the sanction for failure to notify, is therefore to question the very heart of merger control. Moreover, the subject has been the subject of recent developments in case law at both Community (Marine Harvest and Electrabel cases) and national levels (Réunica, Colruyt, Castel cases). Sanctions are becoming increasingly severe, which is also a key feature of antitrust. And the Competition Authority’s power of sanction in this area was reinforced by the Council of State in July 2014. So one case follows another, sanctions are increasing, and the stakes are rising. Virginie Beaumeunier and Emmanuel Reille will first present the main features of the French and European systems, before discussing how the authorities assess the amount of sanctions, and finally the options available to companies faced with a failure to notify.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet.

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