Lotta Pohjanpalo and Ida Keränen contributed to the recently published Yearbook of the Finnish Competition Law Association with an article discussing the merger control process of the notified and subsequently lapsed merger between healthcare operators Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna.
The article analyses the largest merger control investigation in the history of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (the “FCCA”) regarding the proposed merger between two major Finnish health care services providers, Mehiläinen Yhtiöt Oy and Pihlajalinna Oyj. The investigation resulted in one of the few proposals by the FCCA to date to prohibit the merger. While the Market Court found the matter to have lapsed and did not rule on the merits of the case, the investigation nonetheless provides interesting insight into the FCCA’s approach to horizontal mergers. The merger control process included several extensions of the statutory time limits – also by using the “stop-the-clock” right by the FCCA. The article analyses these special features of the process and mirrors them to relevant case law in both Finland and the EU.