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EU Says Merger-Rules Overhaul to Focus on Minority Holdings

Revamped European Union merger control rules may lead to scrutiny of deals that involve minority shareholdings, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told lawmakers today.

“We are considering whether EU merger control should be extended to the acquisition of non-controlling minority shareholdings because we have seen in our practice that they too can lead to competitive harm and currently we do not have the means to tackle this problem,” he said at the European Parliament in Brussels today.

He said the European Commission will also come forward with procedural changes “to make our review of unproblematic cases even more business friendly than it is at present.”

A larger proportion of transactions will be treated under a simplified process, he said.

“This will reduce the amount of information to be provided by companies in non-problematic cases; it will speed up the process; and will allow us to focus on the most problematic mergers.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Chapman in Brussels at pchapman10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Clapham at aclapham@bloomberg.net

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