The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has announced the following permanent changes to the merger notification procedure:
- Notification format: From 1 December 2021, all merger notifications (including all supporting documentation) must be submitted in electronic format only to [email protected] Prior to Covid-19, notifications had to be submitted in hard copy format.
- Timeframes for submission: Completed applications should be submitted between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). Previously, notifications were permitted up to 5:30pm (and 5:15pm on Fridays).
- Incomplete notifications & supporting documents: Where the notification and all supporting documents are not fully received by 3pm, the CCPC will consider the date of receipt of the notification to be the next working day.
- Notification Information Requirements: Where the merger relates to overlapping products or services, applicants have to provide contact details for their top twenty largest customers, suppliers and competitors. Previously, the requirement was to provide contact details for the top five customers, suppliers and competitors.
The CCPC’s Merger Notification Form and Mergers and Acquisitions Procedures have been updated to reflect these changes.
The requirement to submit electronic notifications was first introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and has now been adopted permanently. It reflects the new reality of increasingly flexible working arrangements and is likely to be welcomed by merging parties. The earlier cut off time of 3pm is a significant change which is likely to impact the time-table for some notifications, particularly those submitted on Fridays and prior to public holidays (eg Christmas).
However, the greatest impact will undoubtedly be the new requirement to provide contact details for the top twenty customers, suppliers and competitors, a four-fold increase compared to existing requirements. This will increase the burden for merging parties and also needs to be factored into the time allocated for the preparation of the merger notification.