The Irish merger control thresholds are set to increase from 1 January 2019.
On 2 October, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation signed the Competition Act 2002 (Section 27) Order 2018 (Order) following a public consultation. The Order will increase the current financial thresholds which trigger the requirement for a mandatory merger notification to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
This means that, going forward, mergers and acquisitions must be notified to the CCPC where, in the most recent financial year:
- the combined turnover in the Republic of Ireland of all of the undertakings involved is not less than €60 million (the current threshold is €50 million); and
- the turnover in the Republic of Ireland of each of two or more undertakings involved is not less than €10 million (the current threshold is €3 million).
The increase in thresholds is likely to reduce the number of merger notifications required to be made to the CCPC. In particular, acquisitions of commercial property assets, such as hotels, shopping centres and office blocks, are likely to be affected as the turnover associated with these assets may not meet the new €10 million threshold.
It is important to note that the CCPC can continue to investigate mergers and acquisitions below these thresholds where they raise competition concerns. In addition, the special merger control rules which apply to media mergers are unaffected by the Order.