International antitrust enforcement is becoming more complex as global M&A activity continues to reach record levels. Businesses should be prepared for higher burdens and closer scrutiny from authorities that are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Vanessa Ip reports.
INCREASING INTERNATIONALIZATION has been a long-running theme in global antitrust enforcement. In Clifford Chance’s latest Global Antitrust Trends 2016 report, the firms says that trends in enforcement invariably create ever-increasing complexity, driven by factors including the emergence of civil and criminal enforcement, leniency regimes, greater cross-border co-operation between enforcement authorities, and the increased availability of damages for antitrust breaches.
Allen and Overy predicted in February 2016 in its Global Trends in Merger Control Enforcement report that more than €60 billion (US$62.6 billion) of deals were frustrated in 2015 as a result of antitrust concerns. The firm reported that a further 92 cases globally were subject to interference in the form of remedies, demonstrating the clear impact antitrust intervention can have on business.
According to Antoine Winckler, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels, “The increasingly global nature of transactions has further led to continued collaboration and co-ordination of [the EU regulator] with other antitrust agencies around the world.” As regulation increases and antitrust authorities become more sophisticated, companies need to be more stringent and reinforce their antitrust compliance regimes to avoid being caught by regulatory sanction and scrutiny.