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Irish Merger Control Q1 – Q3 2019:

KEY CONTACT(S): Kate McKenna
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: EU, Competition and Regulatory
DATE: 18.10.2019

Irish M&A buoyant with growth in private equity and tech activity while new thresholds reduce merger control burden

What’s the latest?

  • Ireland continues to have a buoyant M&A market, with continued growth in particular in private equity buyouts, after 2018 saw Mergermarket report a record 163 M&A deals in Ireland.
  • The burden of Irish merger control has reduced for parties to M&A deals due to new financial thresholds for mandatory CCPC filings, which came into effect on 1 January 2019 as explained in our previous article.
  • In the first three quarters of 2019, we have seen a 64% decrease in the number of mandatory filings to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“CCPC”).  A total of 27 filings were made in this period, in contrast to 79 filings during the first three quarters of 2018.
  • Irish mandatory media merger control filings have also taken a downturn, with 63% less filings being made in Q1 – Q3 of 2019 compared with 2018.
  • Sectors with the most number of CCPC filings include technology and healthcare.  By contrast, Real Estate ranked #1 in 2018 CCPC filings.
  • Over 25% of CCPC filings involved private equity or investment firms.  According to Mergermarket, private-equity buyouts have accounted for 19.8% of all Irish M&A deals so far this year, the highest percentage recorded since the Irish financial crisis.
  • As of 30 September 2019, none of the 27 mergers notified  to the CCPC in 2019 have been blocked or subjected to a Phase 2 review. Just recently, one of the mergers (M/19/010 FormPress Publishing (Iconic)/assets of Midland Tribune), has been approved subject to remedies (hold-separate and non-discrimination commitments in a vertical merger).
  • No ‘voluntary’ CCPC filings have been reported on in Q1-Q3 2019, indicating that the change in thresholds has not deprived the CCPC of oversight of mergers raising competition concern.
  • The average Phase 1 CCPC review period was 24 working days in Q1-Q3 2019, with the shortest CCPC filing review taking only 12 working days.
  • Matheson has advised on one third of CCPC filings made in Q1-Q3 2019.

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