Mergers numbers notified to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) halved following an increase in the financial threshold at the start of 2019.
There was a 52% annual decrease to 47 in the number of mergers and acquisitions notified last year. Healthcare, real estate, and information and communications were the sectors most represented.
A total of determinations were issued by the CCPC, four of which were marked for further commitments to secure approval.
Nine notifications required an extended ‘Phase 1’ review, and two required a ‘Phase 2’ investigation. In most cases, the CCPC took under a month to issue determinations. .
The CCPC’s Brian McHugh said that significant changes in the merger regime, with higher merger financial thresholds, caused the reduced volume of applications.
“The reduced number of notifications reflect the goal of removing transactions which are unlikely to raise competition concerns from mandatory notification.
"This reduces the regulatory burden on Irish businesses, and allows the CCPC to focus resources on transactions which are more likely to raise competition issues,” he said.
The CCPC will also introduce a simplified merger procedure by the spring. This will result in “further efficiency benefits for businesses through a reduced notification burden and speedier decision timelines,” McHugh said.
Last year, the CCPC also conducted its first-ever criminal prosecution in Ireland involving ‘gun-jumping’ in a merger.
Armalou Holdings Limited and Airfield Villas Limited pleaded guilty in the Dublin Metropolitan District Court last April to illegally putting into effect a business merger without first notifying the CCPC.