UK, Australia and Germany issue statement on merger control

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The CMA has joined forces with counterparts in Australia and Germany to set out the need for robust merger enforcement to drive post-pandemic economic growth.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt have signed up to the statement, which comes as countries build back following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

With it, all 3 authorities are being clear that competition between businesses will remain important for consumers as well as other businesses who want to best serve their customers and grow.

It is designed as well to provide clarity to businesses, advisers, courts and governments that the competition authorities will continue to provide a robust challenge to merging companies across all markets.

In dynamic markets like digital, this involves taking a critical look at the likelihood of future competition concerns occurring and acting as appropriate to stop problematic mergers. Linked to this, the authorities are also setting out their view that blocking such problematic mergers or requiring divestments is much more likely to preserve competition than behavioural solutions.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli commented: “As our countries emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, competition will have a crucial role to play in helping our economies grow. That’s why I am delighted to be standing with our counterparts in Australia and Germany on this timely statement.

“The economic evidence consistently shows that competition is vital for innovation, productivity and sustainable long-term growth and jobs. I also hear directly from UK businesses who have found themselves in very difficult positions after problematic deals are cleared; some unable to survive because they can no longer compete. It’s important that we continue to thoroughly examine mergers on behalf of business and consumers – especially in dynamic markets like digital – and take strong action where needed.”

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