MINORITY SHAREHOLDINGS: THE TWO POLICY PROJECTS RUN BY DG COMP
Johannes Luebking (DG COMP)
Mr. Luebking opened his presentation by referring to the two on-going policy projects within DG Comp, fi rstly the merger simplifi cation project and secondly the possible reform of the EU merger regulation. In June, the Commission issued a staff consultation paper which focussed on possible amendments to the Merger Regulation in relation to non-controlling minority shareholdings and referrals to national Competition Authorities. The Commission received about 70 replies to the consultation and is currently in the process of reviewing the responses.
Mr. Luebking noted that the findings so far indicate that the legal tools, which the Commission currently has, do not cover all possible anti-competitive effects from the acquisition of minority shareholdings. There appears to be an enforcement gap in this area and Articles 101 & 102 TFEU seem an insufficient legal basis for comprehensively tackling the problem. Mr. Luebking stated that it would seem appropriate to extend EU merger control to cover situations in which the acquisition of non-controlling minority shareholdings may pose competition concerns. However, it is expected that there will only be a limited number of problematic cases.