The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) revised its policy on the expedited processing of concentration cases, i.e. where it does not publish the detailed reasons behind a decision. Market shares of the parties concerned in the merger no longer determine whether the case qualifies for expedited processing. The NMa has amended the decision on Expedited processing of concentration cases to reflect its new policy.

The NMa could hitherto use expedited processing in making a decision only if the combined market share of the parties concerned in the merger in a horizontal market relationship did not exceed 25 per cent and the market share of the parties in a vertical relationship did not exceed 30 per cent. In practice, it appears that competition is usually not impeded in cases where these market share thresholds are not exceeded. The transparency of concentration regulation thus is often not affected when decisions are not explained in detail.

Reasons behind a concentration decision will be published in any case:

a. where a licence is required for the concentration and where the NMa finds it desirable that further investigation into the effects of the concentration be carried out, or where the requirement for a licence is prevented by a remedy.

b. where a concentration decision differs from an advice of The Netherlands Healthcare Authority (NZa), of the Independent Regulator of Post and Electronic Communications in The Netherlands (OPTA), or of the Dutch Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media) on the same concentration.

c. where stakeholders raise relevant objections during the handling of the concentration case.

The further relaxation of the Expedited-processing rules contributes to more effective allocation of the resources available to the NMa. It also lightens the burden on undertakings. For example, the NMa no longer needs to consult the undertakings concerned about which information in the decision needs to be treated confidentially and needs to be left out of the public version. Whether a notification is assessed under the Expedited-processing rules does not affect the registration fee that must be paid for obtaining a concentration decision.

Source:, 12 September 2008