EU: Vestager says Companies misled regulators for merger clearance

On Friday, EU’s antitrust chief Vestager said that her department is reviewing a handful of recent merger clearances on suspicions companies misled investigators in securing approval, the WSJ reported.

The scrutiny and reviews are unusual and could could lead to formal charges and ultimately significant fines for the companies. It is unlikely that withdraw of the clearance could happened.

In December the regulator leveled charges against Facebook that were similar to what we are seeing now. In that case, the EU accused the social-media company of giving incorrect or misleading information to regulators reviewing its planned purchase of chat app WhatsApp in 2014. Facebook said it provided accurate information to the EU about its plans and technical capabilities.

In an interview, Margrethe Vestager said the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, was scrutinizing instances in which company representatives from a range of industries intentionally or negligently misinformed regulators studying proposed mergers.

“In each and every individual case…we need correct information, in order to have the very high quality of our casework that we want to have,” Ms. Vestager said. “We have found in more than one case that there was a case of misleading information.”

The EU declined to identify the companies under the microscope but indicated the cases involve merger reviews that took place within the past five years.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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