Competition Act changes – new merger notification criteria

The Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 came into force on 31st October 2014 and has amalgamated the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency to form the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). The CCPC has a new dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer protection law with a mandate to: protect and strengthen competition, empower consumers to make informed decisions and protect them from harmful business practices.

It has also introduced new merger notification criteria where two undertakings merge or there is an acquisition of one business by another. It is now mandatory to notify the CCPC where the turnover in the State of each of two or more of the undertakings involved is greater than €3,000,000, if following the merger or acquisition the aggregate turnover in the State of the undertakings involved will exceed €50,000,000. This has made the possibility of notification issue for many transactions that were not previously notifiable. Previously the worldwide of each of the two undertakings had to exceed €40,000,000 resulting in only fairly major mergers requiring notification and often in cases where the undertakings had little involvement with Ireland. Now the acquisition by a national chain of a small retail business with a reasonable turnover could become notifiable, whether a small hotel, nursing home, petrol filling station or convenience store.

This potentially impacts on many modest relatively transactions involving a small target entity and a larger group which will be required to notify and obtain approval from the CCPC for such an acquisition. The time frame for such CCPC approvals ranges from 30 to 120 “working days” so this could delay many transactions. It is also worth noting that the fee payable to CCPC on submitting the notification application is €8,000.

If you think your proposed transaction may be affected, an early assessment of the position is advisable. Please contact Gordon Judge ( or Paraic McKeogh ( ) if you have any queries.