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Global trends in merger control enforcement

This report highlights key trends and developments in 2020 global merger control activity, and looks ahead at what to expect in 2021.

We have collected and analysed data on merger control activity in 2020 for 26 jurisdictions, with a particular focus on the EU, UK, U.S. and China.

Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global M&A activity in 2020, we saw no let-up in antitrust authorities’ tough approach to merger control enforcement. Considering reforms to merger control rules remained a priority, particularly in the digital sector.

As we progress through 2021, we expect to see many of the merger control proposals on the table translate into practice. Going forward, merging parties should prepare for greater scrutiny of M&A, including in relation to foreign investment control reviews, combined with increasingly sophisticated merger control assessments.

Report highlights:

  • Antitrust authorities continued to frustrate deals, as the UK stood out once more.
  • Antitrust intervention targeted life sciences and transport sectors but the global focus was on digital.
  • New and tougher foreign investment controls increased obstacles.
  • Procedural merger control enforcement stayed firmly on the agenda.
  • Remedies cases remained high as authorities coordinated outcomes.
  • Merger review periods stayed steady despite the pandemic.
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