CCPC publishes Mergers & Acquisitions Report 2022

January 6, 2023

The CCPC has published its annual merger report, which includes statistics on the number of mergers and acquisitions notified and decided in 2022.

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

2022 statistics

  • 68 mergers were notified in 2022 (down from 81 in 2021, a 16% decrease)
  • 70 determinations were issued, 4 of which required commitments to secure approval
  • 7 Phase 2 investigations were completed
  • Professional Services (including legal, accountancy, consultancy, engineering, veterinary etc.) was the most prominent sector for notifications (9)
  • 17.9 working days was the average time for a determination on a non-extended Phase 1 investigation to issue

The CCPC required commitments from parties in four proposed transactions in 2022:

Such commitments were needed to address competition concerns and include divestment requirements (Tesco Ireland/Joyce’s Supermarkets) and behavioural commitments such as parties agreeing not to exchange competitively sensitive information (BWG/McCarrick Brothers Wholesale). In the Bank of Ireland/certain assets of KBC transaction, Bank of Ireland commitments included the provision of one billion euro to non-bank lenders to support competitive developments in the mortgage market.

For the first time since 2008, a proposed acquisition was prohibited. This related to the proposed acquisition of pharmacy solutions business NaviCorp Limited by healthcare services provider Uniphar PLC (M/21/079). This is only the fourth such prohibition under the 2002 Competition Act and the first since the establishment of the CCPC in 2014. In addition, one proposed merger (M/22/015 – East Cork Oil/Misty Lane), was withdrawn by the parties towards the end of Phase 2, before a final decision was made.

Commenting on the publication of the 2022 statistics, Brian McHugh, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said:

“This year, the CCPC celebrated twenty years of the Competition Act 2002. In that time, almost 1200 mergers have been reviewed. Each investigation brought its own challenges and the experience gained in the last twenty years continues to influence our future approach.

2022 was a very significant year for mergers in Ireland. Although the total number of notified mergers was lower than 2021, we saw increasingly complex mergers notified as evidenced by the unprecedented number of mergers which were subject to Phase 2 merger investigations. These Phase 2 cases invariably require thorough and comprehensive investigations before a determination can be made.

In publishing its banking decisions, the CCPC took the opportunity to raise concerns in relation to the overall competitiveness of the banking sector in Ireland and has continued to engage with the Department of Finance and the Central Bank on these matters. The CCPC also gave careful consideration within the merger review process on how to mitigate the impact on consumers and SMEs through remedies where appropriate.

For only the fourth time since 2002, a decision was made to prohibit a proposed acquisition. In other cases, significant commitments were secured from the parties involved to ensure any competition concerns were allayed.

We look forward to the forthcoming commencement of the Competition (Amendment) Act and the changes it will bring to the merger review process. The new powers will enhance our ability to ensure open competitive markets that work in the interests of consumers, businesses and all of Irish society.”

For more information read the CCPC Mergers & Acquisitions Report 2022

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