On 11 January, MOFCOM’s Antimonopoly Bureau released its quarterly statistics which identified 80 unconditional merger clearances for the last quarter of 2015. This brings the total number of unconditionally approved transactions to 1,273 cases since the Antimonopoly Law took effect in August 2008.
Although this methodology has no scientific pretence, a review of the names of the participating entities in each case shows that transactions involving foreign firms continue to account for the majority of notified transactions. By comparison, to a peak of almost 40 per cent during the last quarter, purely domestic mergers fell to 27 per cent for this quarter. These levels remain much higher than in previous years. In 2015, purely domestic transactions accounted for one in four merger procedures, compared to an average of around 15 per cent since 2008.
During the quarter, Europe, Japan and US-headquartered businesses continued to make up the majority of foreign companies involved in MOFCOM merger procedures. The same trend could be observed during the full year, as shown below. Compared to prior years, the proportion of transactions involving Japanese firms is decreasing slightly.
Transactions approved under the simple cases procedure reached the highest ever proportion of MOFCOM unconditional clearances for the quarter, since the procedure was introduced in 2014: more than 80 per cent of all unconditional clearances were made under the procedure.
With the knowledge of when public notices are published for each simple case as well as the date of approval available through MOFCOM’s unconditional clearances list, it is possible to establish the duration of the review procedure for these cases. As with the third quarter of 2015, MOFCOM took an average of 27 days to conclude its review of simple cases (against an average of 30-day duration since the introduction of the procedure in 2014).