Requests for information in merger control: Where is the corporate risk?

Workshop organised by Concurrences Review with Simon Genevaz (DG COMP) and Jérôme Vidal (Autorité de la concurrence), in partnership with Paul Hastings (Europe) LLP.

Joséphine Fourquet

The powers of the authorities to request information are relatively broad. With regard to the Competition Authority, Articles L 450-1 and L 450-3 of the Commercial Code allow instructors to require the communication of any professional document likely to facilitate the accomplishment of their mission. The Merger Regulation gives the European Commission a comparable power, except that Article 15 also gives it a power to impose periodic penalty payments.

Once the formal notification procedure has been initiated, the 25 working day period in Phase 1 begins. As a result, ill-prepared companies will not be able to respond to requests for information within this period. In this case, the deadlines may be suspended, which may be problematic for the continuation of the operation. One of the trends observed in this area is the increasing complexity and complexity of requests from the authorities. This generally concerns mergers with significant overlaps and/or market definitions that are difficult to establish. For example, more than 800,000 internal documents have been requested in the Arcelor file, more than 1 million in the Qualcomm file and approximately 2.7 million in the Bayer file.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet

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