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The Commission’s approach to acquisitions by Chinese public undertakings in Europe

March 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS.

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The growing Chinese economy and Chinese investments is object of debate in Europe. Focus has especially been on alleged strategically-motivated takeovers by Chinese State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs). Attorney-at-law Odd Stemsrud has written an article concerning the Commissions’ handling of acquisitions by Chinese SOEs.

The article examines the first three cases where the Commission was invited to apply the Merger Regulation to acquisitions by Chinese SOEs. All the cases are from spring 2011.
The identification of the acquiring “economic entity” was key in the cases, i.e. whether this was the acquiring group of companies per se, a larger group of Chinese SOEs or possibly even all publicly-owned Chinese undertakings — the scenario of a “China Inc”. Thommessen was the external legal counsel to Orkla ASA in one of the cases (COMP/M.6082) which concerned Orkla ASA’s divesture of Elkem AS to China National Bluestar. 

This article was first published by Sweet & Maxwell (London) in the European Competition Law Review (ECLR) of October 2011 (Issue 10) and is reproduced by agreement with the Publishers.

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