Beginning with a certain turnover, the EU merger rules are to be applied to cross-border concentrations, irrespective of the size of the company or area of their activity. A pre-merger notification to the European Commission is obligatory. Most cases are closed by the completion of the phase I, which lasts approximately six weeks. Only a small percentage (5%) passes into the phase II, which means another four months time of investigation. The final decision is then subject to juridical review by the Court of First Instance (CFI) and European Court of Justice. At the beginning of the new millennium high-profile cases have called attention to the differences in approach between the competition authorities. On 16 February 2001 the Commission received a notification of a merger plan of Schneider Electrics who wanted to acquire Legrand by way of an exchange of shares announced on 15 January 2001. The offer involves a concentration of all the shares of Legrand and according to the Merger Regulation that demonstrates an acquisition of sole control.
[...] - Slim bureaucracy and very tight rigid timetables, once viewed as the merger task force (MTF) biggest strengths, are nowadays in the light of increasing number of rejected mergers seen as an important weakness. MTF is simply said to have a lack of employees that could profoundly examine all the relevant arguments given the sort deadlines dedicated to each case. - MTF is accused to have an insufficient economic expertise. The most of the merger section are lawyers, only a dozen economists. [...]
[...] A central part of this competition, since 1990, is merger control, presided over by the then commissioner Mario Monti and his Merger Task Force (MTF). One could say that governments have a dichotomous relationship with competition; on the one hand they wish to stimulate the growth of businesses both in numbers and in size. However, on the other hand , those same firms must not be allowed to become large”, say the same governments. In other words, a firm must not attain such a size or position, with which it would obtain a dominant position on its market. [...]
[...] Mario Monti's Legacy in EC Merger Control. Competition Policy International. Vol Nr pp. 1-35. - Voigt, S. and Schmidt, A. (2004). The Commission's guidelines on merger control: improvement or deterioration?. Common Market Law Review, Vol.41, Nr pp. 1583-1595. - Völcker, S.B. (2004). Developments in EC Competition law in 2003: an overview. Common Market Law Review, Vol Nr pp.1027-1072. - Röller, L.H. (n.d.). European Policy Perspectives: Economic analysis and competition policy enforcement in Europe. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/competition/nma.pdf Levy, N. (2005). Mario Monti's Legacy in EC Merger Control. [...]
[...] 4 Mario Monti's position First priority of the analysis of merger projects is the interest of the European consumer. As it is stated in the official European Commission's document EU competition policy and the consumer “companies combining forces can expand markets and bring benefits to the consumer, some combinations may reduce competition and harm consumers. The objective of examining proposed mergers is to prevent harmful effects on competition.” However, veto of the merger project could possibly be avoided if companies determined and then acquired susceptible remedies. [...]
[...] On the contrary, the merger Alfa- Laval / Tetrapak was accepted because markets for packaging and processing machines were found to be distinct and so there would be no extension of dominance General theories and aims of the EU competition policy Two concepts are opposed: one where the European Commission states that concentration should be reduced in order to stimulate effective competition and one lauded by firms saying that more concentration is necessary to increase the firms' competitiveness. A focus on each theory allows one to understand the main goals of the European commission, and the arguments presented by the firms whose merger was prohibited. [...]
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