Vickers, Fingleton call for reform to merger control

At the Merger Control Conference last Friday, the Director-General of Fair Trading John Vickers said he wanted the European Commission (EC) to reform the test it uses in merger control decisions

Irish Competition Authority Chair John Fingleton echoed Vickers, stating his preference for a system that the EC has so far rejected.

Competition Commissioner Mario Monti announced on Thursday (7 November) that the Competition Commission would retain the 'dominance' test it uses to block mergers. He rejected the substantial 'lessening of competition' (SLC) test used in the US and favoured by Vickers and Fingleton.

Vickers, however, told the conference: “It can't be safely assumed that the existing dominance test covers all anticompetitive mergers of concern.” He spoke of a “considerable gap in EU policy”, and suggested the system be reformed to incorporate an SLC-type test.

Monti told the conference that he intended to put forward a minor clarification to the merger control regulation. Vickers, however, told The Lawyer: “We want to keep the SLC candidate in the running at the moment.”