In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC") announced on 18 March 2020 temporary measures to assist it in complying with binding statutory deadlines and to ensure business continuity in the review of notified mergers and notifications.
CCPC Temporary Filing Measures
These measures are as follows:
- Where it is possible to delay notifications to the CCPC, parties are requested to do so until further notice.
- Where it is not possible to do so, parties are requested to file all notification forms and supporting documents (including material contained in annexes and appendices to the notification form) in electronic format by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (no later than 4.30pm).
- Where filing is anticipated, parties are asked to contact the Director of Competition Enforcement and Mergers at +353 (0)1 470 3683 or to email email@example.com.
CCPC Follows Trend Across Multiple Jurisdictions These measures follow similar announcements by the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority in recent days which acknowledge and seek to mitigate the impact of the current pandemic on merger review functions; in particular, the availability of staff and the need to collect and assess information from third parties (including customers, competitors and suppliers).
Other European jurisdictions, such as Finland, France and Germany, have taken a similar approach to seek delay of notifications where possible and otherwise require electronic filings, acknowledging in all cases the likelihood of some disruption to ongoing and future reviews.
Advice to Businesses
The measures announced by the CCPC will be of particular relevance to businesses contemplating mergers involving parties with overlapping activities in Ireland. Those businesses will need to consider the implications for the overall deal timetable of delays in obtaining antitrust approval in Ireland and other jurisdictions relevant to their transaction.
For those businesses already engaged in merger review processes, the CCPC's acknowledgement that statutory timetables remain binding will be of some reassurance in light of more extreme measures introduced by some other European countries, such as Austria (which has halted any merger notifications) or Denmark (which has suspended statutory deadlines).
Originally published 26 March 2020
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