PCC readies rules on notification-exempt mergers

THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will be issuing guidelines on the suspension of its review of business mergers and acquisitions with transaction values below P50 billion.

The Bayanihan To Recover As One Act, known as Bayanihan II, exempts parties in mergers and acquisitions from being required to notify the competition regulation body within two years from the effectivity of the law.

PCC review of these transactions, conducted on its own initiative, is also suspended for a year.

The upcoming guidelines amend previous rules, where parties in mergers and acquisitions reaching a threshold value of P2.4 billion were previously required to notify the PCC.

“PCC will be issuing implementing guidelines for pending and future transactions,” the commission said in a statement on Monday.

However, it said it would continue to protect against cartels and monopolies that could restrain the movement of essential goods and services.

“PCC is intensifying enforcement activities to scan the market for anti-competitive agreements and abusive practices that harm the Filipino people,” it said.

Francisco E. Lim, professor of Competition Law at Ateneo de Manila Law School, said that the provision will be good for business in the short term because less time would be required for transactions.

“But it may not be good in the long term as the commission may still challenge their validity post transaction,” he said in a mobile message on Monday.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Bayanihan II into law last week. The law provides P165.5 billion to fund the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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