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German Antitrust Law and Merger Control Rules

Basic Rules of German Antitrust and Merger Control by the German Federal Antitrust Division (Bundeskartellamt)

In Germany, the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Antitrust Division) is responsible for supervising and enforcing German competition laws and regulations. Among other tasks, the main responsibilities are merger control within Germany, prevention of illegal German cartels and collusion between major economic players, as well as consumer protection in Germany.

Merger Control in Germany

The German Antitrust Division (Bundeskartellamt) assesses the effects a potential merger may have on competition. Of course, not every German M&A deal will be assessed from an antitrust perspective. Only significant merger projects are subject to notification obligations, i.e. the respective parties to such mergers must notify the German antitrust authorities. The threshold of economic relevance to trigger German merger control is: The merging companies, jointly, must have a combined aggregate worldwide turnover of more than EUR 500 million. There are further requirements as well as general exceptions for certain German business sectors.

If, in such relevant merger projects, the projected negative effects prevail, the merger project may either be prohibited entirely or approved only subject to specific conditions.

More information on German antitrust and merger control is available on the English language section of the German Kartellamt website here.

The law firm Graf & Partners (Germany) has been assisting entrepreneurs and businesses with their international expansion to Germany since 2003. Our corporate and M&A lawyers have 20+ years of experience with US-German and British-German mergers and asset deals.  Do not hesitate to contact us by calling German solicitor Bernhard Schmeilzl on +49 941 463 7070 or send an email to: mail [at] grafpartner.com. For non-legal work, we do recommend the service provider Friendly Germans Ltd. The British-German Consultancy Firm.