An M&A transaction is subject to German merger control if the deal constitutes a concentration within the meaning of the German Competition Act and the Parties or the transaction exceeds certain value thresholds.

German merger control only applies if the concentration does not trigger the higher thresholds of the superseding supranational EU merger control that is enforced by the European Commission (EC). Cases can be referred in both directions between the EC and EU member states’ national competition authorities.

If German merger control applies, the Parties must not complete the deal until clearance from the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) is obtained. The clearance decision may be subject to conditions or obligations aimed at safeguarding effective competition. The FCO may block a concentration if it leads to a significant impediment to effective competition, in particular, if the authority expects that the deal creates or strengthens a dominant position.

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