The ACCC has urgently requested reforms to Australia's merger and acquisition laws. 

In its latest submission to the Treasury Competition Review, the ACCC highlighted the need for regulations to prevent anti-competitive transactions amidst a cost-of-living crisis.

ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb has stressed the importance of protecting consumers, farmers, and small businesses from anti-competitive mergers, noting that ineffective control could lead to higher prices and lower innovation. 

“Australian consumers, farmers, and small businesses need to have confidence that potentially anti-competitive acquisitions will be scrutinised and if necessary prevented,” she said.

Despite some opposition, new evidence from the Competition Review Taskforce supports the ACCC’s call for reform, revealing that only a fraction of the 1,000-1,500 annual mergers are notified to the ACCC. 

Cass-Gottlieb noted a troubling rise in unreported mergers, especially by large firms in consumer-impacting sectors.

The ACCC proposes reforms for a more stringent and transparent merger review process, including mandatory notifications and a fast-track exemption for non-contentious mergers to reduce business burdens. These reforms aim to tackle the issue of serial acquisitions, ensuring competitive fairness.