On 6 April, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s Antimonopoly Bureau (MOFCOM) released its quarterly list of unconditionally approved merger cases, which identified 81 unconditional clearances made during the first quarter of 2016. The number of cases remains high, at similar levels to those observed during 2015.
A review of the parties participating in each case shows that transactions involving foreign firms continue to account for the majority of notified transactions. However, approximately one-third of notified cases featured purely domestic operators, which represents a significant rise as compared to previous years.
Whereas fewer Japan-based companies have been involved in merger control procedures, Europe and US-headquartered businesses continue to make up the majority of foreign companies involved.
As in previous quarters, around three quarters of all transactions were cleared under the simple case procedure.
While the procedure does not offer a guarantee of expedited treatment, a comparison of the publication date for each simple case against the approval date mentioned in MOFCOM’s quarterly list reveals that clearance was granted on average 27 days after the notification was accepted as complete. This is slightly shorter than the average length since the new procedure was introduced two years ago. It is also noteworthy that the length of the procedure in a vast majority of the cases approved during the quarter is below or close to the average, with only one transaction necessitating a protracted review (149 days). The dispersion has progressively decreased over the course of the last quarters, showing that the regime has now reached maturity.