The Finnish Government has proposed that the Phase II deadline in merger control should be extended by 23 working days from the current 69 working days due to the difficulties that the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (“FCCA”) has experienced in merger control proceedings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Phase I deadline would not be changed but we see an increased risk that the FCCA could move cases to Phase II simply because it runs out of time in Phase I.
As we have noted before (Overview of the past three years of Finnish merger control enforcement), the FCCA has over the past few years been much more active in using the various tools at its disposal to extend its deadlines, such as stop-the-clock or declaring the notification incomplete. Therefore, the proposed 23 working day extension may not be the biggest risk that the clearance for a deal takes longer than expected.
The amendment is intended to enter into force as soon as the Parliament’s proceedings allow it. The extended Phase II deadline would apply to filings that were made after the amendment has entered into force but before 1 November 2020. The proposed amendment would be temporary, and in force until 31 October 2020.