Antitrust watchdog to resume review of mergers and acquisitions


Posted at Sep 15 2021 09:43 AM

MANILA - The motu proprio review of mergers and acquisitions which was suspended for a year under the country's second coronavirus response law is set to resume, the Philippine Competition Commission said Wednesday.

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act earlier implemented a moratorium on non-notifiable M&A reviews which will expire on Sept. 15.

“With the year-long suspension lifted, and based on its increased market monitoring efforts, PCC can now launch motu proprio reviews and flag M&As which may have potentially anti-competitive effects regardless of any transaction value,” said PCC Chairperson Arsenio M. Balisacan. 

“We are hopeful that the return of PCC’s motu proprio review powers would discourage deals that are potentially anti-competitive. We continue to encourage firms to voluntarily notify the Commission to avoid the taxing possibility of unwinding their transactions after,” he added.

The compulsory merger notification threshold was also increased to P50 billion for 2 years under the Bayanihan 2. Since last year, only 4 transactions breached the threshold, the PCC said.

At least 26 notifications were received in 2020 compared to 46 in 2019. In 2021, there are only 4 notifications as of this time "indicating a significant decrease in M&A notifications since the pandemic," the agency said.

Keeping watch on market competition is "critical" especially during the post-pandemic environment to ensure any business consolidation are checked, the PCC said.

A motu proprio review allows for investigations on any mergers and acquisitions that could potentially lessen market competition.