China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) sped up its simplified merger reviews in the third quarter, clearing most cases within the 30-day first phase, as requested by the head of its antitrust division, according to data compiled by PaRR.
A total of 60 of the 79 mergers that MOFCOM unconditionally cleared in the quarter were simple cases. And the agency took an average of 28.1 days to clear a simple case in the quarter, three days less than the 31 days it used to in the previous quarter. Up to 53 of the 60 simple cases, or 88%, were cleared in phase I.
Shang Ming, MOFCOM’s antitrust chief, told PaRR that his department strived to wrap up simple case reviews within 30 days.
The number of simple cases cleared in Q3 was 13% down on the 91 cases cleared in the second quarter.
The longest simple case review in the quarter took 65 days: Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group)‘s acquisition of a stake in Suzhou Erye Pharmaceutical (Suzhou Erye). The second longest review, a joint venture by LongShine Technology, Shanghai Yunju Investment Management and Wuxi Puyuan Stock Investment Partnership (Ltd), took 63 days.
The swiftest review took 13 days: Jiuzhitang’s acquisition of Mudanjiang You Bo Pharmaceutical.
Another noteworthy case was alternative investment management firm Apollo Global Management's acquisition of OM Group. The case was originally posted on MOFCOM’s website as a simple case on 30 July, but was later taken off and reposted on 31 August. Compared with the July version, which had seven relevant markets, the version announced in August had nine relevant markets. A MOFCOM official told PaRR the applicant in the case had revised the filing and re-filed the case.
MOFCOM’s simplified procedure allows deals that meet certain requirements to be fast-tracked for approval. MOFCOM has not laid down official limits in related regulations on how long it should take to review and clear simple cases.