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Brexit and the future of merger control

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The European Commission for Competition is currently investigating Bayer’s proposed $66bn takeover of Monsanto over competition concerns. The Bayer/ Monsanto deal is one of the three large mergers many have been focused on, not least the European Commission for Competition itself.


In April, ChemChina won approval from the European Commission and the US of its $43bn takeover of Syngenta.


More recently, Dow and DuPont completed their £130bn merger, approved by the European Commission, on condition of the sale of parts of DuPont’s business.


These mergers are impressive in size and have faced multijurisdictional merger control reviews. When considering the UK’s current position, the EU Mergers Regulation requires UK/ European mergers to only file a review to the European Commission. This “one-stop shop” regulation will no longer apply once the UK leaves the EU in 2019, unless the UK remains in the EEA, which the Government is not aiming for.


As a result, many UK/ European mergers may require a review by both the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority. The CMA would investigate large mergers, many of which are currently reviewed by the European Commission alone, and it is suggested that it will increase the CMA’s workload considerably. It could also mean a greater burden on organisations having to file two reviews. There are also considerations that UK and EU competition policies will evolve in different directions over time. One advantage for businesses at present is the voluntary filing system for a CMA review. If this continues post-Brexit, a number of mergers may not need to file a review to the Commission and the CMA.


There is much attention on the future of merger control at present, and any significant changes are likely to emerge after 2019. In the meantime, the Corporate M&A Exchange is hosting a session on UK merger control from the CMA, and you can see our full agenda here.


I would also like to mention that the Emerging Leaders Forum is less than a week away. Please see the agenda here.



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