The Finnish Market Court extends the time limit for an in-depth investigation of a merger between 2 health care companies due to COVID-19 (Mehiläinen / Pihlajalinna)

The time limit for processing the merger of Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna has been extended until 29 September 2020*

The Market Court has extended the processing time limit for the merger of Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna, which is being investigated by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Agency (FCCA), until 29 September 2020. This additional period is necessary to allow the FCCA to complete its investigations on this exceptionally large matter. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has hindered the FCCA’s investigations.

On 12th March 2020, the FCCA launched a further investigation into the merger. Based on the FCCA’s initial investigations, the merger may have an adverse effect on competition in the health care service market in Finland. On 27 May 2020, the FCCA issued a decision to extend the time limit for the investigation, due to the deficiencies in the information provided by Pihlajalinna to the FCCA. With the extension of the time limit for the proceedings, the further investigation under the Competition Act should have ended on 27 July 2020.

On 25 June 2020, the FCCA applied for a 23-workday extension to the time limit for the proceedings, until 27 August 2020. The extension to the time limit was necessary to ensure that the parties of the merger could be provided with sufficient time to issue their responses to the FCCA’s investigations. The parties did not oppose the extension of the time limit, and the Market Court approved the FCCA’s application on 26 June 2020.

On 18 August 2020, the FCCA requested the Market Court to further extend the investigation time limit until 29 September 2020. The FCCA requested an extension to the time limit to complete its investigations on this exceptionally large matter.

The Market Court found that the FCCA had provided compelling reasons for the extension, meaning that the time limit should be extended to 29 September 2020.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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Finnish Competition Authority, The Finnish Market Court extends the time limit for an in-depth investigation of a merger between 2 health care companies due to COVID-19 (Mehiläinen / Pihlajalinna), 21 août 2020, e-Competitions August 2020, Art. N° 96634

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