Companies left in the dark over gun-jumping rules

Author: Olly Jackson | Published: 11 May 2018

The European Commission’s €125 million ($147 million approximately) fine to Altice signals a fiercer gun-jumping enforcement regime. Companies need to exercise more caution in the actions they take between signing the contract and the completion of the deal. But the rules are unclear and enforcement will be largely taken on a case-by-case basis, meaning companies are left in state of confusion as to what actions to take.

The Commission fined Dutch telecoms company Altice €124.5 million ($148.4 million) in April for taking control of PT Portugal before it gained approval from relevant authorities, which it said had undermined the functions of the EU merger control system. Altice plans to appeal the decision, saying in a statement that the case differs entirely from the SFR/Virgin case, in which Altice was fined €80 million in 2016 for taking control of the businesses before approval, a case it decided not to challenge. The Commission’s move is believed to signal...