South Africa: Competition Commission makes available draft guidelines for the assessment of the public interest criteria in merger control matters

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In what is certainly a most welcome development, the South African Competition Commission (SACC) has made available for comment draft guidelines for the Assessment of Public Interest Provisions in Merger control.

The Draft Guidelines seek to provide guidance on the Commission’s approach to analysing mergers by indicating the approach that the Commission is likely to follow and the types of information that the Commission may require when evaluating public interest grounds in terms of section 12A(3) of the Act.

The Guidelines come after recent Competition Tribunal and Competition Appeal Court decisions and the ongoing debate among stakeholders on how public interest issues should be assessed in merger investigations. Contributors and editors of AAT have also called for clarity from the SACC.  In this regard see 140822-What-is-competition-good-for-FINAL

Written comments on the guidelines, and not the accompanying background information document, can be e-mailed to Ms. Seema Nunkoo at SeemaN@compcom.co.za. Alternatively, stakeholders can call (012) 394 3203, for further enquires.

The closing date for comments is Monday, 23 February 2015.

AAT welcomes the SACC’s initiative particularly in light of the fact that public interest conditions imposed in the past have been a cause for concern.  In many instances merging parties were faced with public interest conditions with little or no nexus to the transaction which caused delays and unnecessary and significant costs to the parties in having to fulfill the conditions.  Clear guidelines are invaluable to the broader competition law community and particularly to the business community.

Final-Background-Note-to-Public-Interest-Guideline-210115 Final-Public-Interest-Guidelines-public-version-210115

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