The first half of 2019 saw a sharp drop in the number of filings to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). Only 17 filings were made in this period, in contrast with 50 filings in the first half of 2018. Matheson has advised on 30% of CCPC filings this year. This drop reflects the following new financial thresholds for mandatory CCPC filings, which came into effect on 1 January 2019 as noted in our article last year:
(i) 60,000,000 aggregate Irish turnover (sum of turnover all undertakings involved); and (ii) 10,000,000 individual Irish turnover (by at least two of the undertakings involved).
The previous financial thresholds were 50,000,000 and 3,000,0000 and all thresholds relate to turnover in the last financial year prior to the merger.
The CCPC had estimated that the threshold change would reduce the number of filings by up to 40%. It is not clear whether the much higher 65% year-on-year drop that we have seen in H1 2019 shows that the CCPC underestimated the impact of the threshold change or that other factors are at play.
As of 1 July 2019, 11 out of 17 notified mergers have received unconditional CCPC clearance after a standard Phase I review period. Only one of these 17 mergers (amedia merger involving newspapers) is going through an extended Phase I review process (M/19/010 - FormPress Publishing (Iconic)/assets of Midland Tribune) and none of these 17 mergers have been subject to a Phase 2 review or a...