On 5 September 2022 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application for imposition of a fine on Germany-based Heise Medien GmbH & Co. KG. The company had carried out an illegal merger. It reported itself to the authorities. AFCA proposed a fine of EUR 18,000. The merger took place between December 2021 and February 2022 without the required notification to the AFCA having been made beforehand. The company has acknowledged the infringement.
Illegal mergers are mergers subject to notification obligations that are implemented without approval or in a manner that deviates from the approved transaction. The Cartel Court may impose fines for illegal mergers at the request of the AFCA.
The total amount of fines imposed for illegal mergers between 2002 and 2022 is more than EUR 14 million. The highest single fine was EUR 9.6 million, imposed on Facebook for its illegal merger with Giphy (see our press release of 31 August 2021).