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Australian Watchdog Looks To Reform Merger Laws

 |  April 12, 2023

Gina Cass-Gottlieb, Chair of Australia’s competition regulator, proposed reforms to the country’s merger laws during a speech on Wednesday. She expressed concern that current laws may favor anti-competitive mergers too much.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), current laws in Australia prohibit mergers that may decrease competition, but there is no requirement for parties to notify the regulator or wait for its clearance before completing the merger.

“The ACCC needs to have the tools necessary to be able to properly scrutinize and, if necessary, prevent mergers that are likely to substantially lessen competition,” Cass-Gottlieb said in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.

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“Without these tools, some markets are particularly vulnerable to being adversely affected by further consolidation. In particular, markets that already have large incumbents with positions of market power and markets where it is difficult for new rivals to enter.”

The regulator suggested modifying the merger laws by creating a formal clearance process where the ACCC would evaluate whether the merger would significantly affect competition.