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23 March 2020

News Alert Austria: Implications of legislative measures taken for merger control clearances in Austria

The Austrian Parliament has passed a series of further legislative measures to meet the Covid-19 crisis last week. These measures include a general stay of deadlines in administrative and court proceedings. The law is in force as of 23 March 2020.

The implications for merger control clearances in Austria are set out below.

1. Phase 1

For (new) merger control filings, i.e. filings that are submitted to the Federal Competition Authority (FCA) from 23 March, but prior to 30 April, the statutory four week waiting period will only start on 1 May 2020. Consequently, phase 1 will expire on 29 May 2020. Clearance confirmation would then be received on 2 June 2020 (since 1 June is a bank holiday). Parties will continue to be able to ask for early clearance if the regular end of the waiting period cannot be awaited.

Merger control filings that are pending, i.e. were submitted prior to 23 March, are not affected and there will be no automatic prolongation of the four week waiting period according to the position taken by the FCA. However, one has to factor in the possibility that the authority might request a phase 2 review if not all material questions can be answered within the remaining review period. Such request would lead to a significant delay (see below).

2. Phase 2

For any pending in-depth review, or for any future review requested prior to 30th April, the 5-month deadline will only begin (anew) on 1 May 2020 and end on 1 October 2020.

We appreciate that some of these measures will impact timetables of transactions significantly. Please do not hesitate to call or write in case of questions. The FCA has also published a press release on its website (see here)

This article is part of our coronavirus-focused legal updates – visit our coronavirus infocorner to get more info!