CCPC publishes Merger & Acquisition Report 2021

January 4, 2022

The CCPC has published its annual merger report including statistics on the number of mergers and acquisitions notified and decided in 2021.

All mergers and acquisitions which reach certain financial thresholds must be notified to the CCPC to examine whether any potential transaction could result in the substantial lessening of competition in markets for goods and services in the State.

2021 statistics
  • 81 mergers were notified in 2021 (a 98% increase from 2020).
  • 74 determinations were issued, three of which required commitments to secure approval.
  • 14 notifications required an extended Phase 1 review, five of which required a Phase 2 investigation.
  • Financial and insurance services were the most prominent sectors for notifications.
  • 20.2 working days was the average time for a determination on a non-extended Phase 1 investigation to issue.

The report sees a 98% increase of merger notifications in 2021 compared to 2020. 81 mergers were notified during 2021, which is up from 41 in 2020. Of the 81 notified mergers, 74 determinations had been made by the end of 2021.

The CCPC required commitments from parties in three cases (M/20/005 ESB/Coillte (JV), M/21/016 Pandagreen / Exomex, and M/21/024 – Orpea / FirstCare). These commitments were needed to address competition concerns and include divestment requirements and behavioural commitments such as restricting information sharing. In addition, one merger which raised competition concerns, M/20/003 – Link Group/Pepper, was withdrawn by the parties.

The CCPC’s drive for efficiency was evident across 2021. The average time for a determination on a non-extended Phase 1 investigation to issue was 20.2 days in 2021, which is a significant decrease on the 2019 figure of 22.9 working days.

The Simplified Merger Notification Procedure (SMNP), introduced in July 2020, is now well established and delivers efficiency benefits through reduced notification requirements and allows for speedier decision timelines. Of the 74 determinations issued by the CCPC in 2021, 32 mergers (43%) were cleared using this process.

Commenting on the publication of the 2021 statistics, Brian McHugh, Commission Member said:

‘2021 has been a particularly busy one for mergers in Ireland. We have seen a near doubling of the number of mergers when compared with 2020. The total number of notified mergers in 2021 was 81, compared to 41 in 2020. To some extent, this increase may represent a catch up from the contraction in activity during 2020 but it is clear the appetite for merger activity has been very strong in Ireland in 2021. This mirrors the wider global trend of increased levels of deal making in the last year.

The sector which has been most prominent has been financial and insurance services. In particular we have seen a number of merger notifications in the banking sector. Three of the CCPC’s five Phase 2 investigations relate to proposed acquisitions in the banking sector. These have the potential to fundamentally impact on what is a key sector for the Irish economy and the CCPC has dedicated significant resources to ensuring these notifications are carefully considered.

We continue to work closely with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on potential changes to the merger regime and note the Department’s consultation in 2021 on the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2021. We expect clarity in 2022 on what changes to merger legislation will come into effect and we will consult with stakeholders on how we incorporate any changes into our merger regime procedures.’

 A copy of the CCPC’s Merger & Acquisition Report for 2021 is available.

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