When is a merger not a merger? Jurisdictional developments in UK merger control

In December 2013, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) released its ruling on the applications by Groupe Eurotunnel SA and Société Coopérative de Production SeaFrance SA (SCOP) for review of the UK Competition Commission’s (CC’s) report on the acquisition by Eurotunnel of certain assets from the collapsed SeaFrance SA business.

This case provides some welcome clarity on the line between a transaction that comprises a merger and a transaction that comprises simply the acquisition of assets. This briefing considers the case, together with other recent cases that shed light on exactly when UK merger control applies to a transaction — both in terms of whether a business is being transferred and in terms of whether sufficient control is being acquired over it.

Early consideration of these issues is advisable as this will contribute to the decision whether or not to notify, especially given newly enhanced regulatory powers to suspend or unwind deal implementation steps…

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