A further and significant change to the Irish process for review of media mergers took effect just before Christmas.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Act (the “2014 Act”), which came into force at the end of October 2014 (please refer to our previous article), introduced a new requirement that, in addition to notification to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the “CCPC”) or the European Commission, all media mergers must be notified to the Minister for Communications.
Under the original provisions, the two notifications could be made simultaneously so that the review processes would run concurrently. However, on 23 December 2014, a further change was introduced in the Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. Now, the notification to the Minister may only be submitted after the merger has been cleared by the CCPC or the European Commission (or deemed to be cleared, if no decision is taken within the requisite timeframes).
This amendment adds to an already lengthy timetable (complex competition reviews could take well over six months) and may effectively double the time it takes for a media merger to be reviewed.