In line with its Better Regulation policy, the Commission periodically reviews the effective functioning of existing policies and legislation and has been considering the Merger Regulation.
Following the previous overhaul in 2004, the Commission organised a public consultation between June and September 2013 to seek views on possible future improvements of the EU Merger Regulation. One of the proposals was to extend the scope of the Regulation to the acquisition of non-controlling minority shareholdings. On 9 July 2014 the European Commission adopted the White Paper “Towards more effective EU merger control”, confirming this proposal.
Invest Europe position
The current Merger Regulation applies only to transactions leading to an acquisition of control over a company.
Extending the scope to cover also acquisitions of non-controlling minority shareholdings would have serious negative consequences for Invest Europe members (and for the European economy generally), since it would impede venture capital investment, a significant driver of innovation and economic growth.
Many venture capitalists – particularly in the corporate venture capital world – are concerned that any extension of the regime to minority shareholdings could have a major impact on their ability to invest.