Competition Commission draws up public interest guidelines on merger control

merger control
11 Oct 2023

The Competition Commission has drawn up draft amended public interest guidelines relating to merger control.

The trade, industry and competition department published the draft guidelines in Government Gazette 49407 for comment.

The draft guidelines focus on the Commission’s approach to the legislative framework; general approach to assessing public interest provisions; approach to each public interest factor; and discretion.

Section 6 on approach to each public interest factor is broken down into the effect on a particular industrial sector or region; the effect on employment; the ability of small and medium businesses, or firms controlled or owned by historically disadvantaged persons, to effectively enter into, participate in or expand within the market; the ability of national industries to compete in international markets; and the promotion of a greater spread of ownership, in particular to increase the levels of ownership by historically disadvantaged persons and workers in firms in the market.

The draft guidelines flow from the Competition Amendment Act of 2018.

The main objectives of the act were to deal with the structural challenges of high levels of concentration and the racially skewed spread of ownership of firms in the South African economy.

“In this regard, the public interest provisions in merger control were amended to explicitly create public interest grounds to address ownership, control and the support of small businesses and firms owned or controlled by historically disadvantaged persons.”

The draft guidelines aim to set out the approach the Commission may adopt and the type of information the Commission may require when evaluating public interest factors in section 12A(3) of the act.

Comments are invited within 30 business days of the date of publication.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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