When we said previously that competition regulations are not suspended in Romania, we meant ALL competition related rules, including merger control.
What does that mean? If you are implied in a transaction that qualifies as an economic concentration which falls under merger control rules you (a) should notify it to the competent competition authorities and you (b) should not implement the economic concentration before receiving the clearance decision from the competition authority– the so-called stand still obligation.
Easy to say but how will things work in the current COVID-19 outbreak ?
The collection of information is likely to be very difficult due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Companies have implemented work from home policies which may hinder the process of collection and analysis of information necessary for notification formalities & competition authorities has also limit contact with public and implemented teleworking measures.
What’s the position of competition authorities?
- Romania – RCC announced that it is limiting its contact with the public, suspending such kind of contact until April, 16 with the possibility of extend this measure fact which limits communication with RCC representatives, especially during the pre-merger phase.
Up to know (March 20, 14 p.m.) there is no public request issued by RCC asking the companies to delay submitting the notification.
However if you have signed an SPA, in order to address the problems related to difficulties in filing notifications &obtaining in a specific time the clearance you make take the following measures:
- If the case, modify the deadline for notification included in your SPA;
- If implementation is necessary, approach RCC using the electronic tools detailed herein http://www.consiliulconcurentei.ro/ro/despre-noi.html in order to obtain a decision granting derogation from the stand-still obligation.
DO NOT implement the transaction before notification !
- EU – European Commission requested companies to delay submitting merger filings due to the COVID-19 outbreak and try to use the electronic filing system rather than paper filling.
- Germany – Bundeskartellamt stated that it is no longer possible to come in person at their headquarters and requested parties to assess if a certain project must be submitted right away or, in view of the current circumstances, could be submitted later on.
- France – The French Competition Authority has announced that deadlines and review procedures may suffer modifications and has advised companies to delay non-urgent plans to notify. Also, only electronic fillings are accepted from now on until further notice.
- Ireland – The Irish Competition authority encouraged parties to delay merger filings and established a temporary electronic notification process.
- Denmark – The Danish Competition Authority has suspended deadlines for merger control!
- Furthermore, in Philippines, the competition authority has suspended the acceptance and evaluation of merger notifications for the duration of quarantine, freezing the deadline to submit notifications.
By Mihaela Ion and Vanessa Nistor