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Brussels, 21 October 2005

Mergers: Commission analysis of past merger remedies provides guidance for future cases

A study which the European Commission will use to help analyse the likely effectiveness of remedies proposed by companies in cases under the EU Merger Regulation has just been published on the Europa website. The study looks at the design, implementation and effectiveness of 96 remedies imposed in 40 cases under the EU Merger Regulation from 1996 to 2000. The conclusions of the study indicate that care is needed in particular in defining the right scope of a divested business, ensuring its interim preservation until divestiture, approving adequate purchasers and ensuring effective monitoring of the implementation of the remedies.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “The findings of this important study will influence our future action in the field of merger remedies. It demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to evaluate critically and transparently its past policy and practice in order to draw lessons from it. We should only accept remedies that clearly and unambiguously eliminate the identified threats to competition. It is the merging companies, not their customers, who should bear the risks of potentially inadequate remedies.”

The study assesses in detail the implementation and the effectiveness of a representative sample of 96 of the 227 remedies adopted by the Commission during the relevant period. Conducted mostly through interviews with market operators, the study examines major problems in the design and implementation of remedies that have become apparent since the decisions were adopted. It also carries out an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of the remedies in maintaining effective competition in the market.
The study’s findings confirm the relevance of various aspects of the Commission’s merger remedies practice, as described in the Remedies Notice and the Model Commitments Texts (available at: Nevertheless, the study also identified a number of areas regarding the design and implementation of the remedies which require further improvement.

In addition to being used in future cases, the results of the study, together with relevant recent practice and jurisprudence, will be used in an upcoming review of the Merger Remedies Notice and of the Model Divestiture Commitments and Trustee Mandate. A public consultation on the drafts of these amended texts is scheduled for 2006.
The study can be found at the following address:

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