Jens Steger Discusses How Gun Jumping in European Merger Control Law Could Be Very Expensive in Börsen-Zeitung
Jens Steger was interviewed by prominent German financial newspaper Börsen-Zeitung regarding dos and don’ts in European merger control law. Jens explained the functioning of the European Merger Control Regulation with a special view to the so-called “stand-still obligation.” In one of its most recent decisions, the European Commission punished a company involved in a multimillion-euro merger with a €20 million fine for “jumping the gun” after the merging parties misinterpreted an exemption in the EC Merger Regulation for takeovers involving companies listed on an European stock exchange. Jens recommended companies keep in mind that increased enforcement efforts show the need for early awareness of merger control rules, as well as a robust and principled evaluation of the risks of failing to notify a transaction. Jens gave further insights on how the European Commission is able to discover breaches of the “stand-still obligation” under European merger control law. Corporate lawyers and managers should be trained to identify the key issues early, while early involvement of merger control specialists can ensure enough time for the deal to be restructured if necessary. Merging companies should also keep in mind that there are currently more than 100 different jurisdictions worldwide that have to be monitored, checked and considered with regard to competition merger control rules during M&A activities.