A legislative amendment related to reducing bureaucracy in the Hungarian administrative sector came into effect on 1 January 2016 (the “Amendment”). Of note, the Amendment reduces the procedural deadline of the Hungarian Competition Office (“HCO”) in simplified (Phase I) merger cases from 30-days to 8 days.
The newly-introduced 8-day procedure is available in merger clearance procedures initiated after 1 January 2016. However, the HCO noted that the reduced 8 day deadline is only possible in cases where merger clearance applications submitted to the HCO are complete and reliable; therefore, the HCO’s ability to meet this accelerated deadline largely depends on the clients and their advisors.
The HCO and competition law experts anticipate that most decisions without reasoning (i.e. simplified decisions) will be eligible for the application of the expedited 8 day procedure. Overall, the Amendment fits well into the sequence of measures taken in recent years aimed at clearing non-problematic mergers promptly and effectively. The deadline for processing simplified merger procedures was already decreased from 45 to 30 days back in July 2014, making the Amendment the most recent step to further accelerate such procedures. Further, it is expected to render the HCO’s approval process even more in line with the timing requirements set by market and transaction dynamics.