Merger Control in India: Partial Implementation of the ICN Recommended Practices

Neil Campbell, Sorcha O’Carroll, Jul 14, 2011

India’s new merger regime illustrates how the International Competition Network’s Recommended Practices for Merger Notification and Review Procedures can help to improve merger control processes. In this review, we focus on three areas of practical importance to merging parties that also have significant implications for the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency’s merger control activities: local nexus, timelines, and information requirements.

The Indian Competition Act, 2002 included provisions to establish a mandatory pre‑merger review. The regulations implementing these provisions were not finalized until May 2011, and the merger notification regime came into force on June 1, 2011. In the intervening 9 years, the Indian government revised the Competition Act in 2007, and published 3 sets of draft implementing regulations (in 2008 and 2011).

The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) and the Indian Government publicly expressed their commitment to developing an effective modern regime that considered international best practices, and were willing to engage repeatedly with national and international stakeholders throughout the process. In the private sector, a wide range of stakeholders were actively involved and advocated changes, in large part based on international norms and experience. The high level of engagement from stakeholders such as bar associations and business/industry groups was likely motivated by a recognition that investment in this process was easily balanced against the costs and risks that could result from a non-conforming regime.