Companies can submit documents to the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) as part of a pre-notification procedure before actually notifying the Authority of a merger and setting deadlines running, particularly if their case is highly complex or they wish to draw attention to potentially relevant issues of competition law early on. This should make merger control procedures more efficient. The regular period of examination is between just 4 and 6 weeks. The AFCA has to decide within this period whether the merger will be cleared, cleared subject to conditions, or referred to the Cartel Court for an in-depth review.
It should be noted that companies are not legally entitled to a pre-notification procedure being initiated. The decision on whether to carry out a pre-notification procedure lies with the AFCA.
The AFCA has now published Guidelines on Pre-notification Procedures in Merger Control for the first time. The Guidelines explain, among other things, the prerequisites for a pre-notification procedure, the aims, the expediency, and the Federal Cartel Prosecutor’s involvement in this part of merger control proceedings.
Any pre-notification procedure is to be treated separately from questions concerning the obligation to notify mergers. If companies are unsure in this context, they may contact the AFCA’s Legal Service Department by e-mail at POST-Anmeldepflicht[at]bwb.gv.at.
“We regularly publish guidelines to help companies and legal representatives to better understand our procedures at the AFCA. In merger control, given the many deadlines to be adhered to, it is especially important to have complex issues clarified as quickly as possible,” explained interim Director General Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch.
Please find the link to the Guidelines below or under the Merger Control section.
Guidelines on pre-notification procedure