While executives are very familiar with the concept of securing merger control approval for the acquisition of companies, there are situations where the acquisition of assets (such as property) may require prior approval by the competition agencies.

On 3 February 2016, the European Commission decided under Article 6(1)(b) of the EU's Merger Control Regulation (the "MCR") to approve the acquisition of several real estate assets (the so-called "Dundrum Assets") in Dublin by Hammerson plc of the UK and Allianz SE of Germany. The proposed transaction had been notified to the European Commission on 8 January 2016 and the provisional deadline had been 12 February 2016.

The Dundrum Assets comprised the Dundrum Town Centre and the Dundrum Phase II & Village projects. 

The transaction fell within the scope of Article 3(1)(b) of the MCR and involved the purchase of shares in a newly created company constituting a joint venture.

The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not "significantly impede effective competition" which is the test under the MCR. The Commission referred to the transaction's very limited impact on the market structure. 

The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure which accounts for many notifications and allows decisions to be made swiftly in non-controversial cases.