UK: Brexit - The need for a special approach to EU mergers

The United Kingdom (UK) is expected to leave the European Union (EU) in the near future. When it does so, mergers affecting both the EU and the UK will lose the benefit of the “one stop shop” under the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) and the European Commission (the Commission) will have no right or duty to take account of the impact on the UK of mergers it reviews under the EUMR. Instead, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) must decide whether and how to deal with those mergers where they also qualify for investigation in the UK. This article seeks to frame the challenge facing the CMA and proposes steps to ensure that its review of these new mergers remains efficient and effective.

I. Defining the problem 1. Which mergers raise the issue? 1. Over the last two decades, the Commission has reviewed thousands of concentrations under the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR), [1] reducing both the cost to EU Member States and merging parties of multiple investigations and the attendant risks of divergent outcomes. [2] Once the UK leaves the EUMR, [3] some mergers that would have been notifiable to the Commission may also be notifiable in the UK (either because the target’s turnover exceeds £70 million in the UK, or because together the acquirer and target will account for a share of 25% or more in the supply of goods or services in the UK). [4] Mergers notifiable to both authorities are referred to in this paper as “UK/EUMR mergers.” 2. Mergers that were previously notifiable

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