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