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EU Says Merger-Rules Overhaul May Focus on Minority Holdings

Revamped European Union merger-control rules may lead to scrutiny of deals that involve minority shareholdings, EU regulators said as they sought views on ways to bolster the merger-review process.

“A minority stake owned by a firm in a company that supplies an important input to the acquirer’s competitors may lead to supply problems for those competitors,” the Brussels-based commission said in an e-mailed statement today. “The current merger regulation applies only to transactions leading to an acquisition of control over a company.”

The commission said it’s also weighing changes to streamline the referral of merger reviews from national regulators to the EU regulator and vice versa, “provided none of the authorities involved objects to the referral.”

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia last month briefed lawmakers at the European Parliament of the proposals to revamp the merger-review process. The commission said the consultation process on the overhaul will end on Sept. 20

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