The decision to investigate mergers in the UK’s voluntary regime

December 20, 2017

As merging parties can choose whether to notify their transaction in the United Kingdom, the competition authority has a well-developed procedure for capturing those that are not notified but may raise concerns. The resulting own-initiative investigations account for a significant proportion of overall UK merger enforcement. This mergers intelligence function is crucial to the voluntary regime working effectively, yet relatively little is known publicly about this preliminary investigative phase. In this article, published in the Journal of Competition Law and Economics in December 2017, Simon Chisholm and Tom Heideman provide an overview of how the decision to investigate is taken, including the extent of transactions reviewed at this stage, an overview of the decision-making process, and an assessment of recent reforms to the process. The article goes on to analyze the extent to which decisions taken (not) to investigate are appealable.
The article is available through the JCLE here.