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NMa amends decision on Issuance of short-form decisions in concentration cases

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) will now be able to finalize more concentration cases in which it issues a short-form decision – which means without publishing the reasons behind a decision in detail. Market shares of the parties concerned in the merger no longer determine whether a case qualifies for short-form decisions. To this end, the NMa has amended the decision Issuance of short-form decisions in concentration cases.

The NMa could hitherto only issue a short-form decision if the combined market share of the parties concerned in the merger in a horizontal market relationship did not exceed 25 per cent and the market share of the parties in a vertical relationship did not exceed 30 per cent. In practice, it appears that competition is usually not impeded in cases where these market share thresholds are exceeded. The transparency of concentration regulation thus is often not affected when decisions are not explained in detail.

Reasons behind a concentration decision will always be given in cases:
a. where a license is required for the concentration and where the NMa finds it desirable that further investigation into the effects of the concentration is to be carried out, or where the requirement for a license is prevented by a remedy.
b. where a concentration decision differs from an advice of the Netherlands Healthcare Authority (NZa), of the Independent Regulator of Post and Electronic Communications in the Netherlands (OPTA), or of the Dutch Media Authority [Commissariaat voor de Media] on the same concentration.
c. where stakeholders raise relevant objections during the handling of the concentration case.

The further relaxation of the rules on issuing short-form decisions leads to an even more effective allocation of resources available to the NMa. It also reduces the burden on undertakings. For example, the NMa no longer needs to consult with the undertakings concerned about which information in the decision needs to be treated confidentially and needs to be left out of the public version.