Gun Jumping Investigations: Implications For The Competition And Consumer Protection Commission

Author:Ms Helen Kelly, Ronan Scanlan and Simon Shinkwin

Ireland, in common with the European Commission and national competition authorities across the European Union, has recently shown an increased interest in gun jumping, the prohibited practice of implementing a transaction without having first obtained merger control clearance. In February 2018 the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC") confirmed that it had launched an investigation into suspected gun jumping by Armalou Holdings Limited (through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Spirit Ford Limited) of Lillis O'Donnell Motor Company Limited. This transaction appears to have taken place in December 2015.

Irish merger rules, like those of the European Commission, require that parties to qualifying transactions cannot implement them until cleared by the CCPC. While the commission can impose fines of up to 10% of turnover of companies proceeding with a merger without first obtaining clearance, in Ireland gun jumping is a criminal offence and the CCPC can fine companies, on conviction on indictment, up to €250,000 (with a maximum daily default fine of €25,000).

To date, the CCPC has been reluctant to pursue criminal penalties and, where gun jumping has occurred (eg, INM/Greer Publications and Radio 2000 / Newtalk), it has been satisfied with the parties simply submiting a late notification of the transaction. However, the European...

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