Antitrust Regulator

Using the Wrong Measuring Stick

Bonn Eingang des Bundeskartellamtes
Is Andreas Mundt taking the Cartel Office back to the 1950s?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Cartel Office has the power to make or break businesses.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Cartel Office rules on all proposed mergers involving German firms.
    • It bases decisions exclusively on competition criteria, not business sense or job creation.
    • Last year, six of the ten proposed mergers it examined were later dropped.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Under the presidency of Andreas Mundt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has become a major obstacle to mergers.

Frustrated by hold ups, many companies have abandoned their plans to merge. In 2011/12 alone, six of the ten declared mergers that were officially examined were later cancelled.

The reason is often the narrow definition that the Cartel Office uses to establish market dominance in an industry. “You have no chance against the arbitrary analysis of data sets and the constant stream of new market demarcations,” complained one affected businessman.

The mentality is drawing comparisons to the fusty days of yesteryear, when decisions by the Cartel Office tended to be parochial and lacking wider business sense. On top of this, the Cartel Office, based in Bonn, has reportedly turned more hostile to mergers.

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