Eu-us Best Practices Concerning Bilateral Cooperation In Merger Cases

Recent years have seen an increasing globalization of the world markets and with this – a growing number of mergers involving multinational companies or undertakings acting on an international scale. The European Union and the United States have developed, each of them, strict rules for merger control which can be, and often are, applied to transnational operations. More and more often competition authorities on both sides of the Atlantic happen to deliver decisions in the same cases. The risk of contradiction has already proved to be effective. Thus, in the largely commented GE/Honeywell case, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the EU Commission issued contrary decisions, the latter prohibiting an operation, which the former approved. For this reason, it seemed necessary to make an effort of better coordination. The Best Practices, adopted on October 30, 2002, contribute precisely to this objective of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of merger control.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

Is there any positive impact of the Best Practices on companies regarding multiple filings for merger control?
Which are the concrete actions that cooperating agencies undertake in the course of the investigation?
What about sharing of confidential information?
How is the process of offering remedies or settlements to different competition authorities affected by the guidelines?

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