The Italian Competition Authority published today new merger control thresholds. 

As of today, a concentration must be notified to the Italian Competition Authority when it meets both conditions below:  

  • The combined aggregate domestic turnover of all undertakings exceeds € 482 million, and
  • The aggregate domestic turnover of the target undertaking exceeds € 48 million.

An earlier reform made the thresholds cumulative as of January 1, 2013.  Since then, merger notifications in Italy have decreased drastically.  Their number is expected to fall by about 90% in 2013. 

Despite this reform, companies have in a few occasions notified concentrations that are no longer notifiable.  This will stop as soon as companies and their advisors become aware of the reform.  The Italian Competition Authority has published a reminder to this end.

The expected decrease in merger work will allow the Italian Competition Authority to focus on larger merger cases and antitrust work.  Law firms that have extensively engaged in commoditized merger work will seek to substitute it with other work and may end up encouraging leniency applications and private litigation.  Both leniency and private litigation are areas that have not been extensively explored in Italy until present.