On January 14, 2013 a new merger control regime created by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) came into force. The regime requires notification of mergers where at least one of the parties operates in two or more of COMESA’s member states. Failure to notify may result in penalties and/or the merger being of no legal effect in the COMESA region.
COMESA’s merger control regime affects 19 African nations and is enforced by the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC). Decisions made by the CCC are adjudicated by COMESA’s Board of Commissioners.
In November, proposals aimed at improving the merger control regime are expected to be reviewed by COMESA’s Council of Ministers. In the meantime, companies need to be aware of the current regulation and some of its peculiarities.
Response to the merger control regime has been mixed. Applause for its original aim of streamlining mergers in COMESA’s 19 member states has been silenced due to concerns over high filing fees, low thresholds for filings, long review periods and conflicting views regarding whether the CCC has exclusive jurisdiction to review transactions meeting COMESA’s filing thresholds. It is also unclear how the regime will operate in relation to mergers consummated outside the COMESA region that fall within the scope of the merger control regime.Continue Reading...