Clearances

Mergers can bring many benefits to the New Zealand economy by making it possible for firms to be more efficient and innovative. However, some mergers also have the potential to lessen competition to the detriment of consumers.

Under the Commerce Act, we can clear a proposed merger if we are satisfied that it is not likely to substantially lessen competition in a market. We compare the likely state of competition if the merger proceeds with the likely state of competition if the merger does not proceed.

We have published Mergers and Acquisitions Guidelines to give businesses in-depth information on the laws that govern our merger assessments, the economic and legal analysis we conduct, and the process we follow to make a decision.

Parties who wish to apply for clearance for a merger must complete our application form (PDF) and send this to registrar@comcom.govt.nz, as well as paying the fee of $2,300 (GST incl).

Once we have received the application we check it is in the correct form and completed to a sufficient standard to enable us to start investigating. We publish applications forms on the Clearance Register on our website.

Our investigation then involves requesting information and documents from relevant parties, conducting research, and interviewing interested parties.

Once we have collected all the relevant information, we assess whether the merger is likely to substantially lessen competition. If we are satisfied it will not substantially lessen competition, we clear the merger. If we are not satisfied, we must decline to clear the merger.

We publish the reasons for our decisions on the Clearances Register on our website.

Do I need to apply for a clearance?

We encourage parties who are contemplating a merger to seek legal advice, and to discuss their plans with us. While we cannot give ‘informal’ clearances, we can provide guidance on potential areas of concern. If you would like to discuss a potential application, please contact the Competition Manager at competition@comcom.govt.nz

Our fact sheets – Mergers and Acquisitions – Applying for a Clearance, and Mergers and Acquisitions – Merger Assessment – explain when and why a business might want to apply to us for clearance of a proposed merger, and when and why a merger has the potential to substantially lessen competition.

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