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New European Commission referral policy for merger cases: implications for French businesses

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Ninane Florence
Florence Ninane

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Noemie Bomble

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Emily Bourne

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01 October 2020

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager recently announced an important change to EU merger control: the introduction of a possibility for national competition authorities to refer cases they do not have the power to review themselves (ie when national merger control thresholds are not met) to the European Commission (Commission). 
This modification of the existing referral system, expected to take effect from mid-2021, will enable the Commission to review potentially anti-competitive mergers even if they do not reach merger filing thresholds, and, critically, where the target has no or little turnover – so-called ‘killer acquisitions’. However, for the time being, uncertainties remain as to how this change will be implemented.