Exemption from the suspensive effect of merger control: Should European and French decision-making practices be harmonized?

The standstill obligation in merger control procedures is not an absolute principle. Both the French Competition Authority and the European Commission recognise the possibility of exceptional derogations to this principle. In times of crisis, requests for such derogations are more frequent, and the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception to the rule. While French and European decisional practices differ in the area of derogations to the suspensory effect, this can impact the undertakings applying to take over a company in economic distress. This article intends to analyse these different practices and reflect on a possible harmonisation.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. Several recent cases have strongly emphasized that the parties to a merger must wait for clearance from the relevant authority before proceeding with the actual implementation of the transaction: they must respect the suspensive effect of merger control. However, in certain exceptional circumstances, the Commission or the competent national competition authority may grant a waiver allowing companies to proceed with the actual implementation of all or part of the transaction without waiting for the clearance decision. 2. It appears from both French and European practice that such a waiver benefits in practice mainly takeover bids for companies in

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  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Paris)

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Romain Ferla, Exemption from the suspensive effect of merger control: Should European and French decision-making practices be harmonized?, May 2022, Concurrences N° 2-2022, Art. N° 106353, www.concurrences.com

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