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Commerce Commission consults on process guidelines

Commerce Commission consults on process guidelines for merger and acquisition clearance applications

The business community is being asked for input on a set of process guidelines the Commerce Commission plans to publish, giving guidance to businesses seeking clearance for a merger or acquisition.

Section 47 of the Commerce Act prohibits the acquisition of assets of a business or shares if that acquisition would have, or would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market. The merger and acquisition clearance regime administered by the Commission is voluntary. Section 66 provides that those proposing to undertake an acquisition may seek clearance from the Commission for the transaction.

The Commission is inviting submissions on a draft set of process guidelines and revised application form for businesses seeking clearance.

Commission Chair Paula Rebstock said, "The Commission aims to make robust decisions on clearance applications as quickly as possible to improve business certainty. These guidelines have been produced to help achieve robust and timely decisions by providing information about the process, the kinds of information that the Commission requires and indicative timelines."

"Mergers perform an important role in the market and can bring benefits to the economy such as enabling businesses to achieve economies of scale and scope. However, some mergers might have anti-competitive effects by altering the structure of markets in ways that lessen competition. For that reason, the Commission must balance the need for quick decisions against the need to ensure it has the best information to allow it to make sound decisions that will ultimately benefit consumers in New Zealand. These process guidelines and revised application form will help achieve this," said Ms Rebstock.

The draft application form and draft process guidelines can be viewed on the Commission's website under business competition/mergers and acquisitions/draft process guidelines

Submissions can be made in writing to: Mergers and acquisitions clearance process feedback, Commerce Commission, PO Box 2351, Wellington, 6140 or by email to by 5 pm, Friday 30 July 2008.


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