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.