Cornerstone Research Launches New Report on Merger Enforcement at the European Commission

Report shows trends in merger control activity over the last decade.

London—Cornerstone Research released a new report, Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at the European Commission, which examines patterns in merger investigations and enforcement activity by the European Commission between 2010 and 2019.

The inaugural edition of the report shows that the deal value of transactions subject to merger enforcement has increased significantly over the past decade. In the 2015–2019 period, 86 per cent of mergers that were either cleared with commitments or blocked had a deal value greater than €2 billion. This is up from just 58 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

The inaugural edition of the report shows that the deal value of transactions subject to merger enforcement has increased significantly over the past decade.

Almost 80 per cent of transactions were cleared under a simplified procedure in 2019, marking a 10-year high. Under the simplified procedure, mergers that are unlikely to raise competition concerns are assessed by the European Commission under a more streamlined notification process. The share of transactions that were not subject to this simplified procedure has halved since 2010.

“The number of notifications in the first quarter of 2020 remains at broadly the same level as the first quarter of 2019,” noted Cornerstone Research Vice President Kostis Hatzitaskos. “The second quarter of 2020, however, seems likely to show a marked decline in the number of notifications as deals are delayed or abandoned during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be monitoring these developments and their impact on merger enforcement and litigation.”