CCI simplifies M&A filing norms

Providing more clarity, fair trade regulator CCI has streamlined rules and procedures for filings pertaining to merger and acquisitions.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has amended the combination regulations for the fifth time to make it more user friendly, amid concerns expressed in certain quarters about some existing requirements.

From omitting certain requirements to simplifying existing norms, a slew of changes have been effected by way of the new amendment.

The Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) Amendment Regulations, 2016, has been notified.

In a tweet today, the watchdog said the combination regulations have been amended to "streamline and simplify rules and procedures for M&A filings".

The watchdog would now give an opportunity to the parties concerned before deciding on invalidating a notice. It has powers to reject an application if it is found to be incomplete.

Following the latest amendment, announcements made by companies under Sebi Takeover Regulations can be submitted in the category of 'other documents' while submitting notice seeking CCI approval for M&As.

With regard to signatories of a notice, the word 'board of directors of the company for the said purpose' has been substituted with the word 'company'.

There have been concerns about authorised signatories who can sign the application seeking nod for M&A deals on behalf of foreign companies, especially since there is also a provision for invalidation of such notices.

According to CCI, acquisition of less than ten per cent of the total shares or voting rights of an enterprise should be treated as solely as an investment subject to certain conditions.

"As part of its ongoing efforts to make M&A filing requirements simpler and readily acceptable to various stakeholders, CCI has further revised its combination regulations, making them more forward looking, in keeping with some of the best practices in other jurisdictions," Vaish Associates Advocate said in a note.

CCI has amended the combination regulations four times in the past -- in February 2012, April 2013, March 2014 and July 2015.

The changes provide more clarity for the stakeholders and are industry friendly, M M Sharma, who is Head (Competition Law and Policy) at Vaish Associates Advocate said.

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