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No Let-Up In Merger Control Focus As Global Antitrust Authorities Continue To Frustrate M&A Deals In 2021

 |  March 18, 2022

By: Dominic Long, Elaine Johnston & Peter McDonald (Allen & Overy)

Allen & Overy’s latest Global Trends in Merger Control Enforcement report reveals that antitrust authorities around the world continued to frustrate M&A deals during 2021, with 30 transactions either abandoned or prohibited. 

The report, released today, analyses data on merger control activity in 2021 from 26 jurisdictions globally.

The tally of 30 frustrated deals is in line with the figure for 2020, which is perhaps surprising given the worldwide boom in M&A activity and record numbers of merger filings being seen in a number of jurisdictions. But as the report argues, the reason is likely to be timing. M&A transactions usually undergo lengthy merger control scrutiny, leading to a data time lag on any prohibited or abandoned deals. The report suggests we watch this space for a rise in frustrated deals in 2022.

At a jurisdictional level, despite a dip from a total of nine in 2020 to six in 2021, the UK was second only to the U.S. in terms of the total number of frustrated transactions. Although the report notes that the fall in numbers does not signal a less interventionist approach by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In fact, late in the year, the authority announced adverse provisional findings in two phase 2 cases. One has now been cleared subject to a large divestment package. The final decision in the other is due in the coming months…