Anyone contemplating a deal which raises competition concerns or involves a sensitive sector needs to plan ahead for heightened regulatory scrutiny and more potential hurdles along their transaction timelines. The challenge for business will be to stay ahead of these delicate and rapidly changing dynamics. Today we published our ninth annual “10 Key Themes” review of trends in global antitrust enforcement, which explores these and other themes that will impact antitrust risk in the coming year.

In 2019, deal timelines and risk calculations must factor in issues such as:

  • increased levels of intensity of merger reviews, often with very burdensome document production requirements;
  • a keen focus in many jurisdictions on “gun-jumping” and inappropriate information exchange;
  • greater scrutiny of digital deals as enforcers try to predict and measure the impact of consolidation on potential competition and innovation;
  • pressure on governments and regulators which leads them to at least ask themselves whether political or social objectives, such as fairness for consumers, employment opportunities, benefits to the environment or wider national interests should be taken into account in antitrust enforcement;
  • a wave of increasingly protectionist moves across the G20 leading to political intervention and more far-reaching foreign investment controls;
  • the impact of on-going trade tensions on cross-border merger reviews; and
  • in Europe, the prospect of parallel merger reviews in the EU and UK - from April in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Throughout 2019 we will hold a number of events to discuss the implications of these and other developments. If you are interested in joining our discussions, do get in touch.