New merger notification thresholds came into force on 1 January 2019. We would expect these new thresholds to lead to fewer notifications made to the CCPC. However, turnover thresholds are not the only stipulation for notification. The CCPC may still scrutinise deals even if the turnovers do not reach the new higher thresholds. Businesses will need to double check whether all deals raise competition issues irrespective of size.
Proposed simplified procedures
The CCPC is working on a simplified merger review process which is likely to come into force this year. This will probably speed up the review of no-issue Phase 1 notifications. However, we anticipate that the CCPC will conduct more extended Phase 1 and Phase 2 reviews, which is a current trend over the last couple of years.
Gun jumping is where a merging business fails to notify a notifiable merger to the relevant competition agency or implements the transaction before approval by such an agency – in Ireland's case, the CCPC. The CCPC, European Commission and other global competition regulators are placing increased focus on monitoring compliance with notification requirements. We would expect to see more investigations being carried out in 2019. The penalties are significant so businesses should ensure they are well aware of the notification requirements.