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  1. Why the European Commission blocked the French merger.
    1. Acquisition of sole control.
    2. Low-voltage electrical equipment sector.
    3. Impose the prices and control the market.
    4. Restricting effective competition.
  2. Links that exist between competition and concentration: Mario Monti and the economic theories.
    1. A formalized policy regarding the intervention of the state apparatus in the dealings of the private sector.
    2. The competition policy.
    3. The Commission's endeavour to protect effective competition.
    4. The greater attention paid to post-concentration efficiencies.
  3. Is it usual to meet this kind of refusal in Europe?
    1. Numbers and examples.
    2. General theories and aims of the EU competition policy.
    3. Conclusion.
  4. The arguments against Mario Monti's position on mergers and acquisitions.
    1. Mario Monti's position.
    2. Arguments against Mario Monti's position.
    3. Impact of the case on the Mario Monti's approach and on the merger regulation.
  5. Bibliography.

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. [...]

[...] If the loss of competition/consumer buying power outweighed the efficiency gains, then the merged would be blocked, even if this is the case in only one of the segments which would be affected by the merger (see graph 1). This approach, practiced by Mario Monti was eventually formalized in the 2004 Merger Regulation and Horizontal Merger Guidelines. The 2004 Merger Regulation now imposes the obligation on the Commission to take into account positively post-concentration efficiencies. The Horizontal Merger Guidelines are more specific in stating ?this will be the case when the Commission is in a position to conclude on the basis of sufficient evidence that the efficiencies generated by the merger are likely to enhance the ability and incentive of the merged entity to act pro-competitively for the benefit of consumers, thereby counteracting the adverse effects on competition which the merger might otherwise have[3]. [...]

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