Philippines antitrust body orders more firms to report takeovers, mergers

(MAY 13, 2020) Houses are dwarfed by towering buildings of the Makati City skyline on a quiet Wednesday midnight as they government through the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommends the implementation of a modified enhanced community quarantine on Metro Manila to further curb the spread of the COVID-19. (PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN)

MANILA – More merger and acquisition deals in the Philippines will be required to secure prior approval, its competition watchdog said on Friday, as it seeks to expand its reviews of transactions to better protect consumers.

Dozens of companies in the past two years were exempted from notifying the antitrust body and seeking approval for takeovers and mergers, as part of a government effort to encourage and fasttrack deals during the pandemic.

But effective Friday, mergers and acquisitions above P2.5 billion ($43 million) are subject to review, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said in a statement.

Companies with more than P6.1 billion ($106.35 million) in assets or revenues engaging in such deals must also seek PCC approval.

Those compare to a much larger deals threshold of above P50 billion ($871 million) that was introduced for a two-year period from September 2020.During that time, the PCC exempted 55 corporate deals from a mandatory review and approved six transactions.

The Philippines launched operations of the anti-trust body in 2016, to encourage foreign investment and increase competition in sectors where consumers have long complained of high costs and bad services.

It has since received 227 notifications and approved 205 transactions with a combined value of P4.63 trillion ($80.73 billion).

“Parties who know of mergers and acquisitions that did not meet the thresholds in the last two years but which may have led to monopolies or adverse effects in the market may report these,” the PCC said in its statement. — Reuters