The Finnish Government submitted a Government Bill to the Finnish Parliament in September 2022, suggesting that the notification threshold for mergers and acquisitions be lowered following an earlier proposal by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (“FCCA”) in the summer of 2021. The changes have entered into force on 1 January 2023.
The proposed changes to the Competition Act will lead to more acquisitions being reported and investigated. The aim is to strengthen competition by preventing harmful market concentration and price increases for consumers.
Following the amendments, the FCCA will now investigate acquisitions where the parties’ combined turnover in Finland exceeds EUR 100 million and the turnover of each of at least two parties in Finland exceeds EUR 10 million.
The FCCA was not granted the right to review transactions that fall below the turnover thresholds, as contemplated in the earlier proposal by the FCCA in June 2021.
At the previous notification thresholds, the FCCA handled approximately 30 notifications annually. According to estimations, the number of notifications will approximately double as a result of the amendment. According to the grounds for the proposal, the amendment is estimated to prevent some four to six additional acquisitions that are harmful to competition every year (compared to the previous regime), which is claimed to result in direct consumer benefits of between EUR 50 million and EUR 67 million.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has also prepared an amendment to the notification form for mergers and acquisitions. One of the purposes of this amendment is to reduce the administrative burden on companies to notify transactions that are unlikely to raise competition concerns. The amendment to the notification form also entered into force on 1 January 2023.