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EU: Regulator could expand criteria to initiate merger reviews

 |  March 10, 2016

EU regulators are considering expanding the criteria that requires companies to seek merger approval in an effort to ensure deals involving start-ups producing key data or products do not slip through the net, the EU’s antitrust chief said on Thursday.

Under current rules, the European Commission only examines deals involving companies that exceed a minimum revenue threshold, meaning that some businesses have escaped scrutiny from the EU watchdog.

For example, Facebook’s $19 billion bid for mobile messaging start-up WhatsApp was not examined by the EU competition authority until the case was referred to it by national antitrust agencies two years ago. The Commission had not conducted an automatic review because Whatsapp’s turnover in 2013 was below the required threshold.

“The value of a merger could be a good guide to its importance, but we would need to pick just the right level to cover the mergers we need to see without making life harder for innovative start-ups,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a conference organized by German law students group Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht.

Full Content: The Times of India

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