Competition Watchdog Hints at Making Merger, Acquisition Norms User-friendly

Published: 19th December 2015 04:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2015 04:03 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will modify filing requirements for entities seeking approval of Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) by month end.

The fair trade watchdog will also ensure M&A decisions are cleared within 30 days of receiving the proposal.

“This is a process, which we undertake periodically and the idea is to make the regulations, the process as user friendly as possible from our point of view,” Ashok Chawla, Chairperson, CCI said adding that these were ‘minor nuts and bolts’ issue but were important from stakeholders’ view.

“We are taking a look at these and we will be in a position to finalise the changes whatever they are before the end of the month,” Chawla added.

FIXING.JPGAccording to him, there have been concerns about authorised signatories who can sign the application seeking nod for M&A deals on behalf of foreign companies, especially since there was also a provision for invalidation of such notices. As per CCI norms, the regulator has powers to reject an application if it is found to be incomplete.

Earlier this year, the CCI had revised its Combination Regulations making certain procedures easier with respect to entities seeking nod for M&A deals.

Speaking to media on the sidelines of an event organised by Assocham, Chawla said, the Commission will ensure speedier approval process. “It is 30 working days, but actually when there is exchange of information the clock stops and those days are not counted. If you ask the lawyers or businesses they would say the average time taken is 50-60 days,” he noted adding, the regulator tries even now to clear such proposals within 30 days.

Stating that “speed was of essence,” Chawla said the regulator will ensure that regulatory burden is minimised for the companies. Deals beyond a certain threshold are required to get CCI approvals.

In 2016, there will be a clear southward direction in terms of the time to approve M&A deals, he noted.

The Commission received as many as 355 cases seeking nod for deals since the regime for M&As came into force in June, 2011. Of this, 322 cases have been approved and 30-0dd are in the pipeline.

The number of notices seeking approval for M&A has been on the rise in recent years, with the regulator receiving over 117 cases in 2015, up from 45 notices in 2013 and 88 in 2014.

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