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20 August 2020
On 3 October 2019 merger control proceedings were opened for the purchase of CEZ by Eurohold Bulgaria AD.
On 10 October 2019 the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) initiated in-depth proceedings (Phase II). Fourteen days later, the CPC prohibited the merger due to its 'conglomerate' effect and the significant combined resources of the acquirer's and the target's groups, respectively.
On appeal, by decision of 22 July 2020, an administrative court repealed the prohibition on the grounds that:
The administrative court concluded that the CPC formally opened in-depth proceedings but entirely omitted the in-depth investigation phase, thereby breaching Bulgarian law and the EU Merger Regulation (139/2004).
The case was returned to the CPC, with mandatory instructions by the court that the CPC must adhere to the in-depth investigation procedures envisaged under the law (eg, sending the SO to the notifying party and inviting remedies, if necessary).
The administrative court's decision is subject to a second and final appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court.
For further information on this topic please contact Galina Petkova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr by telephone (+359 2 933 1072) or email (email@example.com). The Advokatsko Druzhestvo Stoyanov & Tsekova website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.
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