Carles Esteva Mosso
Carles reviewed the recent enforcement practice in mergers .
The Commission is currently witnessing an increase of M&A activity: a 30% increase in notifications in the last 3 years. If the trend continues, by the end of 2017 the Commission would have dealt with more than 400 notifications. There seems to be two explanations for this. First, the fact that M&A activity has an important cyclical component and economic recovery within the EU pushes this activity up and, second, monetary policy that makes the financing of M&A operations relatively easier.
Most of these proceedings end up in clearances. The Commission raised competition concerns only in 49 cases in 2016. Most of them were cleared with remedies. Abandonments and prohibitions are very rare: in the past 2 years (2015-16) one can only find a prohibition and three abandonments (two more prohibitions and one abandonment in the course of 2017). The Commission, thus, intervened in around 8% of cases being notified. This is a percentage rate that showcases a quite remarkable stability in terms of intervention: broadly between 5% and 8% in the past 15 years.