- CCPC put in place processes to ensure business continuity in the review of notified mergers in response to Covid-19
- 41 merger notifications received in 2020 compared to 47 in 2019
- Information & Communications and Healthcare were the most prominent sectors for notifications
- In July 2020 the CCPC introduced a simplified merger notification procedure
5 January 2021: The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today published its annual merger report including statistics on the number of mergers and acquisitions notified and decided in 2020. All mergers and acquisitions which reach certain financial thresholds must be notified to the CCPC to examine whether any potential transaction could result in the substantial lessening of competition in markets for goods and services in the State.
- 41 mergers were notified in 2020 (a 13% decrease from 2019).
- 43 determinations were issued, 1of which required commitments to secure approval.
- 15 notifications required an extended Phase 1 review, 2 of which required a Phase 2 investigation.
- Information and Communications and Healthcare were the most prominent sectors for notifications
- For non-extended Phase 1 investigations, the CCPC took on average 22.9 working days to issue a determination.
In March 2020, in response to Covid-19, the CCPC put in place processes to ensure business continuity in the review of notified mergers and acquisitions. These measures included: the acceptance of electronic notification of mergers where notification forms can be completed and returned via email; the reviewing of mergers almost entirely through remote working; extended deadlines for responses to RFIs under formal powers; and the CCPC obtained designation as a statutory body that can conduct remote oral hearings in phase 2 mergers.
Commenting on the publication of the 2020 statistics, Brian McHugh, Commission Member said: “Covid-19 has impacted nearly all areas of society and indeed the merger notification and review processes have been no different.. The CCPC moved quickly and introduced a number of measures to ensure our work continued in an efficient manner. In addition, we continuously monitor and carefully assess the impact and potential future impacts of Covid-19 on the merger review regime.”
Furthermore, on 1st July 2020, the simplified merger notification procedure (SMP) commenced. The CCPC decided to introduce such a procedure following a public consultation period in late 2018 to reduce the time and resources required of businesses. Notifying parties are now exempt from providing certain information when filing mergers or acquisitions which do not raise significant competition concerns. To date, the CCPC has cleared seven mergers under the SMP with an average time of 13.4 working days to issue a Phase 1 decision.
Speaking about the year ahead, Brian McHugh said: “One key element of a merger regime is the need to ensure efficiency. It is important that businesses have the confidence that notifications will be dealt with in a timely manner, in particular where no significant competition issues arise. The SMP regime has delivered further efficiency benefits for businesses through a reduced notification burden and speedier decision timelines.”
Commenting on the CCPC’s work at a European level, Brian McHugh said: “The CCPC continues to engage with our European colleagues on developments within the European merger regime. There has been a considerable amount of work done to consider appropriate measures to deal with the fast moving digital sector and international competition issues, including what additional tools and powers could be useful to address these issues. The CCPC expects that the potential impact of some of these issues on the merger review regime will become clearer in 2021 and beyond.”
A copy of the CCPC’s Merger & Acquisition Report for 2020 is available on ccpc.ie or by clicking here.