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What form should merger control notification take in the European Union and what content is required?

Standard notifications must be made using the European Commission’s Form CO template. This requires an extensive amount of information, particularly on the parties’ activities, their views on market definition, horizontal overlaps and vertical considerations. Considerable supporting documentation is also required, such as copies of the transaction agreements and documents prepared for the board about the transaction. The parties are required to provide detailed market data for affected markets. The structure of supply and demand in affected markets must also be discussed, as well as:

  • product differentiation;
  • closeness of competition;
  • market entry and exit;
  • research and development activities; and
  • trends and cooperative agreements.

If the parties want the European Commission to consider whether efficiency gains generated by the transaction are likely to enhance competition, they must supply such information in the notification.

Less complicated transactions may qualify for notification under the simplified procedure using the Short Form notification template.

The current versions of both Form CO and Short Form templates can be found as annexes to the consolidated version of the Implementing Regulation at http://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/legislation/regulations.html#impl_reg.

Notification can be made in any official EU language, although these days most notifications are made in English. The Directorate-General for Competition has guidance on its website as to the number of copies of the notification which must be provided, in electronic and hard copy, as well as the opening hours of the Merger Registry to which the notification must be delivered.

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