Merger control: Deadlines temporarily extended
The Norwegian Parliament has adopted a new temporary law on exemptions from the procedural rules in the Competition Act due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The purpose of the law is to ensure that the competition authorities can perform their duties during the pandemic, most importantly, by extending the Norwegian Competition Authority's case handling timelines in merger control cases.
The purpose of the extension is to ensure that the Authority will have sufficient time to assess all notified mergers and intervene where required, despite possible disruptions to its casework due to the covid-19 outbreak.
The most significant changes to the timelines are the following:
- Deadline for Authority to impose a duty to notify minority stakes or below the thresholds: Three months after signing + 15 business days.
- Deadline for Authority to decide in “Phase I” (full clearance or “Phase II” investigation): 25 business days after filing + 15 business days.
- Deadline for Authority to issue a conditional clearance decision in “Phase I”: 35 business days after filing + 15 business days.
- Deadline for Authority to issue “Phase II” statement of objections (or clearance): 70 business days after filing + 15 business days.
- Deadlines for parties to reply to the statement of objections, for Authority to issue its final decision and for specific extensions for new remedies offered late in “Phase II”: All extended with 15 + 15 business days.
- Deadline for parties to appeal the Authority’s final decision in merger cases: 15 business days after final decision + 15 business days.
The Act entered into force with immediate effect on 17 April and applies until 31 October 2020.
Link to the Authority’s press release.