The Spanish merger control rules are set out in Law 15/2007 on the Defence of Competition (LDC) and its implementing regulation (RDC). A transaction must be notified to the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) when the conditions of Articles 7 and 8 of the LDC are met.
Merger control rules applicable at EU level should also be taken into account. Spanish competition rules will not apply to transactions falling within the thresholds of Regulation (EC) 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (the Merger Regulation) (with some exceptions).
Triggering/threshold events: Triggering events include:
- The merger of two or more previously independent companies;
- The acquisition by an undertaking of control of all or part of one or more undertakings; and
- The creation of a joint venture and, in general, the acquisition of joint control of one or more undertakings, where these undertakings perform on a lasting basis the functions of an autonomous economic entity.
Control results from rights or any other means which, in law or in fact, make it possible to exercise decisive influence over an undertaking (Article 7(2) CDL).
The triggering thresholds are as follows:
- Market share threshold:
- The merger leads to the acquisition of or an increase in the share of 30% or more of a relevant product or service market in Spain, or in a geographic market in Spain.
- Turnover threshold:
- The aggregate turnover in Spain of all participants in the last financial year is more than 240 million euros; and
- The aggregate turnover in Spain in the last financial year of at least two of the participants exceeds EUR 60 million.
However, the transaction may be exempted from notification if:
- The target’s turnover in Spain is less than EUR 10 million in the last financial year.
- The individual or combined market share of the participants does not exceed 50 % in any affected market in Spain or in a geographic market in Spain (or the market share of the target alone).
Notification and regulatory authorities: Notification is mandatory when the above thresholds are met, and no exemption applies. The notification must be made before the transaction is executed.
The notification is usually filed with the CNMC when the acquisition or merger agreement is signed and is set as a condition precedent to closing or (in takeover bids) when the bid has been announced, or up to five days after the bid is submitted to the CNMC.
Substantive evidence: The substantive test for authorisation is whether the transaction is a potential impediment to the maintenance of effective competition in all or part of the Spanish market (Article 10, LDC). In determining this, the CNMC considers the following:
- The structure in all relevant markets;
- The position of the parties in the affected markets and their economic and financial strength;
- The level of actual and potential competence;
- The options available to providers and consumers;
- Barriers to entry;
- Trends in supply and demand for products or services;
- The bargaining power of the parties; and
- Any economic efficiencies resulting from the transaction.