French Government To Review Merger Approval On Public Interest Grounds For First Time

Author:Mr Porter Elliott
Profession:Van Bael & Bellis

On 14 June 2018, the French Ministry of Economy announced its intention to carry out, for the first time, a public interest review of Cofigeo's acquisition of the ready meals business of Agripole.

In addition to a standard merger review by the French competition authority ("FCA"), French law allows the Ministry of Economy to conduct a so-called "phase III" review of transactions on public interest grounds, rather than competition grounds, within 25 days of an FCA decision. Such public interest grounds include the protection of industrial development, competitiveness of an industry in view of international competition or the creation and stability of employment. Prior to this case, the power had never been used. In this case, the French Ministry's phase III review is expected to be concluded by 19 July 2018.

The additional review by the Ministry of Economy was announced immediately after the FCA's decision to clear the transaction on competition...

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