EU & Antitrust Update: 2013 Highlights

28 February 2014

In merger control, there has been an increase in the number of notifications to the Competition Authority in 2013 (37), compared to 2012 (33).  This still falls well short of 2006, when 98 transactions were notified.  Significantly, we have seen an increase in complex transactions notified: two involving trade buyers were the subject of Phase II investigations (the first since 2011), perhaps signalling an upturn in the economic climate.  We have not seen any cartel prosecutions this year, although the Competition Authority is clearly active in the enforcement arena. 

Highlights for 2013 included:

  • Two Phase II Merger Control Investigations
  • Increase in Enforcement Activity
  • Legislative Changes in the Pipeline

Two Phase II Merger Control Investigations

In 2013, there were two Phase II merger control investigations, the first in-depth reviews since 2011, both of which involved trade buyers.  In April 2013, following a full investigation, the Competition Authority (the "Authority") unconditionally cleared Intersnack International B.V.’s acquisition…

Increase in Enforcement Activity

It is widely acknowledged that the Authority has struggled with a shortage of resources over the last number of years.  In 2013, however, significant additional resources were sanctioned and we are seeing an increase in enforcement activity by the Authority.  At the end of 2012, following a year-long investigation…

Legislative Changes in the Pipeline

A number of significant institutional and legislative changes were expected to take effect during the course of 2013.  In 2008, the Government announced plans to amalgamate the Authority and the National Consumer Agency as part of the rationalisation of State agencies.  Legislation to effect the amalgamation…