CCI issues guidance note for combination applications to ease M&A filings

The Competition Commission has revised its guidance note on filing applications for combination approvals, which will help establish a more standardized review process.

The guidance note for Form I has been revised to incorporate changes to the green channel, an official statement said on Saturday.

Generally, Form I is used for requests for nod searches for combinations. In the jargon of competition law, mergers and acquisitions are called combinations.

The green channel provides for the automatic approval of combinations subject to certain conditions.

“The guidance notes provide the scope of information and documents to be submitted with the form. They also provide clarification regarding the eligibility criteria for the greenway. The Competition Commission of India (ICC) publishes guidance notes to the parties to assist them in filing before him, “the statement said.

Karan Chandhiok, Partner and Head (Competition Practice) at Chandhiok & Mahajan, said that the revised guidance note would help make the review process more standardized.

“It sets out the expectations of the ICC vis-à-vis the parties in terms of documents, data points and information. The parties which file a request for approval for a regrouping will have to pay more attention to the preparation in the opinion, in particular the additional information now sought by the CCI, as this will also help to ensure that their request for approval is not invalidated, “he said.

In August 2019, the watchdog introduced an automatic green channel suit approval system and revised Form I. The move was part of ongoing efforts to streamline the process for filing mergers and acquisitions (mergers and acquisitions ) and simplify it.

According to Karan Chandhiok, the guidance note becomes important in the context of the proposed amendments to the Competition Act, in particular the timing of processing a request.

The Bill to Amend the Act proposed that a suit be deemed approved if the CCI does not give notice within 150 days of the filing of a notice of approval. The deadline may be extended by a maximum of 30 days to take into account the time taken by the parties to file additional information or to respond to faults reported by the ICC.

“Currently, the time limit is 210 days, but in the event of faults or if the parties request an additional period, the chronometer will stop (i.e. remain suspended) until the faults are corrected or that additional information be provided, “he said.

CCI keeps a tab on anti-competitive practices in all market sectors and combinations above a certain threshold require authorization from the regulator.


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