Antitrust Pressure Sees More Deals Abandoned, Allen & Overy Says

Feb. 12, 2019, 3:18 PM

Companies abandoned a third more deals in 2018 than in the previous year amid pressure from antitrust authorities, according to a report by law firm Allen & Overy that may suggest businesses around the world may be less willing to fight regulators.

While the U.S. only blocked one deal, five others were ditched during an antitrust review, one after regulatory requests delayed closing, Allen & Overy said. The European Union didn’t veto any tie-ups but three were withdrawn, two at a late stage. Merger filings hit a record in 2018, with 96 percent of transactions approved without concessions. Overall, 22 transactions were abandoned by companies.

More scrutiny of foreign investors adds a new risk, creating “an increasingly challenging and unpredictable regulatory environment,” Allen & Overy said. “In 2018 we saw several governments -- the U.S., Australia, Germany and the U.K. -- reconsidering their powers and as a result strengthening their existing toolkits,” it said, citing the U.S. blocking of Broadcom Inc.’s bid for Qualcomm Inc. and Germany’s first ban for a Chinese takeover.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net Peter Chapman, Jones Hayden

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