Thursday, July 25, 2024

Competition law gets more teeth, mergers to win swifter nod

Both houses of Parliament cleared the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023, on Monday, paving the way for the government to enact some significant changes to the country’s antitrust regime, including swifter clearances for mergers and acquisitions (M&As). 

The amended law also mandates that firms penalised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) must fork out at least 25% of the penalties levied on them, for their appeals to be heard by an appellate tribunal. The definition of turnover under the law has also been enlarged to mean “global turnover from all products and services of a contravening enterprise”. 

To make approvals for combinations (M&As) time-bound and quicker, the Bill cuts the overall time limit for assessment to 150 days, from 210 days, from the date of filing of notice by the involved parties. Moreover, the CCI will have to frame a “prima facie opinion” within a time-period of 30 days from the receipt of such notice, failing which the combination shall be considered as deemed approved. 

“While certain amendments are business-friendly and consistent with the government’s ease of doing business mission, others may raise more uncertainty in their implementation,” said Pallavi Shroff, managing partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. 

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